Jason was assigned to be Tory’s “Buddy” when she arrived as a new hire at his workplace. On her first day, he was to take her on a tour, answer any questions she may have, and just be a buddy.
The two became friends, friendship turned to love, they eventually got married, and had a beautiful daughter named, Kate.
In the summer of 2016, Tory was diagnosed with breast cancer. They visited The Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital for daily radiation and weekly chemotherapy treatments.
The process was gruelling. Each visit lasted for hours. There was a lot of waiting – for blood work, meeting with the nurse, treatments, and finally to get medication at the pharmacy.
At many of the appointments, Tory and Jason would discuss the ways to make patients feel more comfortable at their appointments.
They thought that having a volunteer meet new patients would be a good way to make them feel more comfortable and at-ease. Also having a bed, rather than a chair, so patients can rest.
Tory wanted to start fundraising for these initiatives. Even as her health deteriorated, they made a commitment to make this plan a reality.
Then in March of 2017, Tory was gone. With the heartbreak of her passing, Jason stayed committed to their idea.
“We set out to improve the comfort of cancer patients,” said Jason. “I made it my mission to help people who were in similar situations.”
The Tory Day Fund was born. Jason and his team of friends and family held events and fundraisers, raising over $128,000 in one year. “I fostered a community, and the community took care of me,” he said.
Comfortable beds for chemotherapy patients have now been funded, and a Patient Buddy Service is in operation at the Odette Cancer Centre. A volunteer greets new patients on their first visit, gives them tips to make their time more comfortable and is available to help them for the duration of their stay.
Tory’s dream is a reality.
Because when you’re new to a place, a buddy can help make you feel a little more comfortable.