Ontario mother who pleaded for funding of drug loses battle with cancer
Published Monday, April 28, 2014 10:32AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, April 28, 2014 10:25PM EDT
A Milton, Ont. mother who was battling the Ontario government for coverage of a drug that could prolong her life has succumbed to terminal cancer.
Kimm Fletcher, 41, died in a hospice on Sunday after months of suffering from stage-four brain cancer.
The mother of two caught the public eye when she opened up about her battle with the disease in October, asking the government to help her pay for her medication.
Her husband, Scott Fletcher, said she was “a fighter who wanted the right things for the right people.”
Provinces such as Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia all fund Avastin, but Ontario only covers the drug costs for patients with colon cancer.
The treatment has not been proven to improve survival in patients with brain cancer, and two studies from the University of Texas found Avastin was no more effective than a placebo.
Fletcher travelled to Queen's Park to speak with Health Minister Deb Matthews, and won over Conservative health critic Christine Elliot in the process.
"Surely you have to agree that Kimm Fletcher's case is one of those cases where compassion should be administered in fact this is why we pay taxes," Elliott said during the session.
After a closed-door meeting with Fletcher, Matthews promised that an expert panel would review the most recent evidence on the drug.
For Fletcher, the much-needed drug would have afforded her precious time with her two young children.
"Memories. They'll remember me feeling better, not just always sick. I need to give them more of those and more special memories," Fletcher told reporters in October.
Upon hearing of Fletcher’s death on Monday, Opposition leader Tim Hudak told reporters: "I can't imagine what it's like to leave behind two children, I have children myself. This is not the kind of Ontario we expect to see. We should be first on the list for new drugs that would have given her more time with her girls. We can do better."
After her Queen's Park meeting, Fletcher set up an online campaign at GoFundMe.com to help pay for the medication. More than $100,000 was raised through donations and Fletcher was able to receive the drug for a few months.
Her husband said he’s certain the infusions gave their family three more months together.
“I was convinced it was working, Kim was, and that’s all we needed,” he said.
With a report from CTV’s Medical Specialist Avis Favaro
Kimm Fletcher poses in a fire truck in this undated family photo.