Big thanks from Eloise for cancer care funds
A 73-year-old nurse thanked the community after reaping $18,000 from wellwishers to cover urgent cancer treatment abroad after her work insurance fell short.
Eloise Bell, whose nursing career has notched up almost 50 years, was left reeling when she discovered her hospital staff coverage would not pay any of her cancer care in Boston.
She said she had been given no option but to get medical treatment abroad. She flew for treatment on September 11.
The senior, who secured a fundraising licence and launched an appeal this month, has been left elated by the community's response.
Ms Bell said: “I really, really appreciate it; it was hard going there not knowing how much I was going to have to fork out, not knowing if I could get anything for my surgery.”
After the prospect of losing her leg to bone cancer, or undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, Ms Bell faces a full hip replacement when she goes back tomorrow to Brigham and Women's Hospital. She said: “People are still calling me. My phone rang off the hook when the story appeared.”
In addition, the cancer charity Pals has come forward to cover her air fare and accommodation costs, while the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association will temporarily cover expenses not paid by her new insurance plan.
Ms Bell added: “I want to send them each a personal thank you.”
After decades in the emergency room, and helping fly hundreds of patients abroad as chief nurse for the Bermuda Air Medivac plane from 2004 to 2011, Ms Bell said: “I know a lot of people; that's probably what did it.”
Scans this summer detected bone cancer destroying her right femur, but to secure a full diagnosis, a biopsy had to be taken at the Boston clinic.
Biopsies are often uncomfortable, but Ms Bell opted for nothing beyond local anaesthetic.
She said: “My whole stay there was great.”
Ms Bell, who returned to Bermuda on Saturday, admitted dreading the prospect of chemo or radiation for her cancer treatment.
The hip replacement to be carried out on October 1 in Boston is more extensive than the traditional procedure, but a preferable option.
For now, Ms Bell said she was “just thankful the doctor gave me the treatment that I needed to have”.
Ms Bell's charity is registered as T2072 with Butterfield Bank account number 20006060202892100.