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"BAN" 2003 Obituary


BANCROFT  BANFIELD  BANKS  BANNERMAN  BANNON  BANTING 

BANCROFT o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-11-21 published
HODGKINSON, Ronald Arnold
Born July 27, 1927 in Ottawa. Ron died peacefully with family by his side on November 16, 2003 at the Victoria Hospice, at the age of 76. He fought a tenacious battle with cancer, courageously and with his sense of humour intact to the end. Predeceased by mother Josephine CAVILL, father George HODGKINSON, and brother Gilbert. He will be sadly missed by his loving wife Jean Lesley (née BANCROFT,) of 46 years, his son Eric Ronald HODGKINSON, daughters Janice ROBINSON (Dan REDFORD,) Susan VIMINITZ (Mark,) grandchildren Jenna, Sam, Josh and Zack, brother Art, sisters Nora, Elsie Ann and Helen, 11 nieces and nephews, and many dear Friends. Family and Friends are invited to celebrate Ron's life at the Gordon head United Church, 4201 Tyndall in Victoria, at 3 p.m, on Saturday, November 22. Donations can be made in his memory to the Cancer Society or the Victoria Hospice.

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BANFIELD o@ca.on.manitoulin.howland.little_current.manitoulin_expositor 2003-12-10 published
John "Jack" BILLARD
In loving memory of John "Jack" BILLARD who passed away Monday, December 1, 2003 at the Mindemoya Hospital at the age of 77 years.
Beloved husband of Audrey (BANFIELD) BILLARD of Mindemoya. Loving father of Sandra MOSLEY of Atikokan, Madge BUDGELL (husband Wilf predeceased) and Sharon HAGEN (husband George) both of Lively and Terry (wife Anne) of Red Lake. Cherished grandfather of Melissa, Jergen, Erica, Steven (fiancie Christina), Darren (fiancie Anne), Andrew, Tyler and Karleen. Dear son of Archibald and Elizabeth BILLARD both predeceased. Dear brother of Gwen, Don (wife Mona+,)
Lora (husband Jim), predeceased by Ada, Edwin, and Ross. Dear brother-in-law of Ruth, Marguerite, Rod, Ella and Barbara. Sadly missed by nieces , nephews, great nieces and nephews, cousins and especially by his canine pal Riley. Funeral Service was held at the Lougheed Funeral Home Regent St Sudbury Friday, December 5, 2003. Cremation at the Parklawn Crematorium.

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BANKS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-03-06 published
BANKS, Athalie Isabelle
Died of cancer at Moncton Hospital on Saturday, March 1, 2003. Formerly of Ottawa, Ontario, she leaves behind brothers and sisters in Australia. Cremation has taken place. Burial later in the spring.

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BANNERMAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-04 published
Dorothy Della SCOTT
By Eugen BANNERMAN, Thursday, December 4, 2003 - Page A26
Mother, friend, practical joker. Born June 13, 1917. Died October 5, in Wingham, Ontario, of natural causes, aged 86.
Dorothy Scott's grandparents arrived with their family from England in 1876, and, several years later, rented a house and farm near Brussels, Ontario
It was a long journey by wagon over the rough, corduroy roads that wound through Huron County. They carried all their belongings with them. When they arrived, they found the house was still occupied, so the family had to make do in the barn's milking parlour. Dorothy's grandfather was a carpenter and boarded off one corner of the stable. Her grandmother scrubbed, whitewashed the walls and ceiling and tidied the place for her growing family, until the other family moved out.
Dorothy's grandmother was expecting, and it was here she gave birth to her fifth child (Dorothy's mother), and named her Thirza. Her grandfather took the newborn infant and wrapped her in a home-made blanket. He put clean straw in the cattle manger and laid her in it. "Just like the baby Jesus."
Dorothy told me this story on one of my first visits. I was the newly appointed United Church minister in Blyth, Ontario, and at 85, Dorothy was one of its oldest members. Old in years but not in spirit. Growing old should not keep us from laughing and having a good time, Dorothy often told me, for as soon as we stop laughing, we age rapidly. Dorothy's joie de vivre was spontaneous and infectious. Even when she was hooked up to plastic tubing supplying her with vital oxygen, the sparkle (and laughter) in her eyes was always present.
Dorothy Della SCOTT was born to Thirza (WALDEN) and John CALDWELL. She grew up on her parents' farm and on June 15, 1938, married Laurie SCOTT, also a farmer. She received a dining-room suite and a milk-cow as a wedding gift from her father. They had two children, Robert and Donald.
Dorothy SCOTT learned as a child to have fun and laugh. In spite of the hard work and deprivations of farm life, the years did not repress or smother her inner child. Often it burst forth in unexpected and unique ways.
Her worst prank, she told me, was when she was a nurse and decided to play a trick on a new orderly. She had the other nurses cover her with a sheet as she lay down on a trolley and "played dead." The new orderly was called and told to take the body to the morgue. She lay absolutely still until they were in the elevator. Then she sat up, and frightened the poor man, "really bad," as she said.
There was also a serious dimension to Dorothy's life. As a young mother, she almost died giving birth to her second son, Donald. But in the privacy of that moment, she had a near-death vision of Christ. "If this was death," [she] thought, "no one need be afraid."
Dorothy was unsentimental about many things but not her family. She concluded her memoirs, Dorothy's Memories (2002), by tracing her own happy life to a happy childhood and loving husband and family.
Shortly after my arrival in Blyth, Dorothy tested her new minister's tolerance for humour. She slipped a white envelope into my hand as I was saying goodbye to parishioners after worship. "Don't open it now. Give it to your wife and read it when you get home." It was the first of many jokes from the Internet that made us laugh with pleasure and anticipation.
We will miss Dorothy, her cheerful disposition, her countless stories, her white envelopes, and her cushion-seat in the third row of the sanctuary.
Eugen is Dorothy's friend and minister.

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BANNON o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-02-17 published
Claude J. GOUGEON
By Claire LALONDE Monday, February 17, 2003, Page A16
Father, husband, businessman, art collector. Born January 14, 1923, in Ottawa, Ontario Died December 14, 2002, of fibrosis of the lungs, aged 79.
Act enthusiastic and you'll be enthusiastic was dad's motto.
In just such a positive manner, our dad raised five children, urging us all to reach for the stars.
Dad received his training as a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. After the war, while working as sales representative for Imperial Tobacco Company in northern Ontario, dad met Rita BANNON. Perhaps it was his rich tenor notes and the sweetness that emanated from his violin, mingling with Rita's piano melodies, which led to their 1946 marriage in Sudbury, Ontario
In Sudbury, Claude began working for Rita's father at Bannon Brothers' Furniture Store and raised his four daughters and one son.
His entrepreneurial spirit surged and he moved to Arnprior, Ontario, where he invested his energy in his own furniture business and became president of the local businessmen's association.
Later, his love of wood and fine form resulted in his establishing Estate Antiques, a furniture-based antique shop in Orleans, Ontario (Our tongue-in-cheek quip used to be that: "Everything was for sale except Rita and the kids.")
On one occasion, my soon-to-be husband was sleeping in a downstairs bedroom. Dad had just finalized the sale of the oriental rug upon which the bed sat; he and my brother Tom tried to unobtrusively hoist the bed (upon which my startled fiancé was feigning sleep), to roll up and remove the rug.
Dad later developed a lasting passion for art, specifically 19th-century, Canadian art. Our home became his gallery. With each family visit we were caught up in dad's joy and expertise as he explained each new piece. He would point out the effect of light and shadow, the artist's self-rendering in a painting, the notch in the stonework that identified a historical date. His appreciation of art was as infectious as his personality.
Family was dad's first passion, however. He cherished our mother and often deferred to her natural good taste in the purchase of fine paintings. As children, our lives were filled with stories of boating expeditions on the Rideau and Trent canals, and a perspective of the world that no kaleidoscope could ever duplicate.
Dad's energy for life was boundless. He never had problems, only challenges; his love for his family was unconditional. This attitude was evident three weeks before my wedding, the day when I arrived home distraught over the bankruptcy of the clothing store where my wedding dress and three bridesmaids' dresses were stored. Dad knocked at the door of the establishment and spoke to the owner. Later that day, he arrived home, arms overflowing with dresses.
A natural teacher, one of dad's greatest lessons to us was his last: the manner with which he graciously surrendered his worldly goods and independence. In spite of a profound hearing loss, great difficulty breathing and myriad other discomforts, dad's attitude remained uncomplaining and positive.
His "act" of enthusiasm had become his natural personality and we were all benefactors.
Claire LALONDE is Claude GOUGEON's daughter.

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BANTING o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-05-10 published
Programmer was a 'people person'
Computer consultant advised clients not only on technology, but on the psychology that made the technology work for the company
Harvey GELLMAN was the first person in Canada to get a PhD based in computer studies.
By Marina STRAUSS Saturday, May 10, 2003 - Page F11
He broke new ground in the computer field long before most Canadians even knew what a software program was, or that computers would so profoundly change their way of communicating and doing business.
Known as the dean of computer consulting, Harvey GELLMAN had a hand in purchasing the first computer in this country in 1952 he ran one of the first software programs and was the first to get a PhD based on computer studies. Last month, Dr. GELLMAN died suddenly in Florida at the age of 78.
He made his name as a consultant who advised clients not only on technology, but on the psychology that made the technology work for a company -- with a knack for matching people's skills to the job at hand, colleagues say.
Most important, Dr. GELLMAN put the clients first, always looking out for their best interests rather than simply the consultant's bottom line, says Jim HAYWARD, his partner at Toronto-based Gellman Hayward and Partners for 18 years until it was sold to Montreal-based CGI Group in 1992.
What particularly distinguished Dr. GELLMAN as a consultant was his departure from others in refusing just to analyze a problem and deliver a report to the client, Mr. HAYWARD says.
Instead, Dr. GELLMAN would find out exactly how far the client was ready to go in implementing any change recommended in a report and then guide the client through the change process.
This fundamental shift took root in the mid-1970s, when Dr. GELLMAN became frustrated that too many consultants simply handed over a report and then walked away from the problem, Mr. HAYWARD says.
"The trick is to work beside the client and walk with them, but don't take the problem away from them, " he says. "It's like therapy."
Together, they applied this form of business therapy at Gellman Hayward, which grew from four partners to about 100 employees before it was sold, boasting a client list that read like a Who's Who of corporate Canada.
Indeed, the firm at one time or another advised all the big banks, Bell Canada, Imperial Oil, Labatt Breweries, Eaton's, Hudson's Bay, Spar Aerospace, TransCanada PipeLines, Noranda, Falconbridge, Inco, Atomic Energy of Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
"It was all the big names, says CGI president Serge GODIN, who worked closely with Dr. GELLMAN after the 1992 acquisition and credits him with helping to manage its huge surge in staff mostly through acquisitions -- by integrating and streamlining the various systems.
"Harvey GELLMAN is a brand name, Mr. GODIN says. "He was quite something, very strong, brilliant -- with a big heart."
He was a man of few words, with a deep-seated respect for and interest in people, colleagues and family.
"He would say, 'The janitor and the president are the same, ' recalls Paul GELLMAN, the younger of his two sons, who also is a computer consultant. "He believed it and he lived it."
From the security officers at Dr. GELLMAN's apartment building in Florida, where he lived half the year in his retirement, to the secretary in his doctor's office -- all were touched by him and upset by his death, Paul says.
Born in 1924, Dr. GELLMAN was the middle of five children of Polish parents who immigrated to Toronto in 1928. His youngest brother Albert says nobody in the household ever quarrelled: a calm reigned in the family and reverberated in the future computer guru.
Still, Dr. GELLMAN's life threatened to take an entirely different course early on, when he dropped out of high school to work in an electrical manufacturing plant and help the family make ends meet.
The factory had an electrical test set that only Dr. GELLMAN was able to figure out, Mr. HAYWARD says. The budding tech whiz realized that he wasn't so dumb, went back to school -- and the rest is history.
He attended the University of Toronto, graduating with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics in 1947. The following year, the university's newly established Computation Centre, headed by Professor Calvin (Kelly) GOTLIEB, invited him to join and study electro-mechanical devices.
Dr. GELLMAN subsequently was involved in purchasing a huge Ferranti computer from England for $250,000. It was the first computer bought in Canada, sponsored in part by one of the centre's clients Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.
"The machine would fail every five minutes, Dr. GELLMAN was quoted as saying years later when he was inducted in the industry-sponsored Canadian Information Productivity Awards hall of fame. "We would sit at the monitor and watch the diagonal array of dots, and when a dot dropped, we would stop the machine, reset it and carry on."
He wrote a small program on punch paper tape to help users print efficiently from the computer, one of the first software programs to be run in Canada, and soon he produced the first printout for a computational problem, according to information supplied to Canadian Information Productivity Awards.
In 1951, he obtained his PhD in applied mathematics, the first doctorate in Canada for which the theoretical calculations depended on a computer.
That same year, he became head of computing at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and, by 1955, he founded H. S. Gellman and Co. Ltd. in Toronto to advise the growing number of companies seeking his help.
Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. was his first client and remained one throughout his consulting career.
"He was doing a lot of pioneering work on operating systems, and operating systems that deal with controlling nuclear-power plants, says Bob BANTING, manager of information technology security at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. "He understood the programming and the technical stuff, but he also knew how to manage people.... He was very good at assessing skills."
He hired top talent, sizing up job candidates in minutes, and was able to move seamlesslessly from being a good programmer to a good "people person, Mr. BANTING says.
Dr. GELLMAN's early work was computing based on mathematical equations, but the firm quickly moved into what became known as information technology.
His busy consulting firm was swallowed in 1964 by a subsidiary of de Havilland and subsequently by AGT Data Systems before he left with Mr. HAYWARD to form Gellman Hayward.
But by the early 1990s, the firm was "stuck" and started to seek a buyer, Mr. HAYWARD says. "We didn't know how to get to the next level."
When CGI acquired it in 1992, Dr. GELLMAN stayed on as a senior vice-president until he retired six years later.
In 1997, he co-wrote Riding the Tiger, a book that helps business managers use information technology effectively. He was often quoted in the media on managing information systems, and wrote articles on the topic for The Globe and Mail.
In addition, he received many honours during his career, including being named International Systems Man of the Year in 1967. He was a founding member of the Canadian Information Processing Society, among other professional bodies.
In his personal life, he was a private man and a steadfast father and grandfather nine times over. He was devoted to Lily, his wife of 57 years. They were teenage sweethearts, best of Friends and "a model of how we all should live, " says his son Paul.
When Paul's older brother, Steven, decided to pursue a career as a composer and musician, Dr. GELLMAN had some reservations, aware of the risks of such an unconventional and insecure profession.
"Before I left home to study at Juilliard, he said to me, 'I understand you wanting to become a musician. Become the best musician you can be; but I am concerned that you don't become just a musician, ' " Steven says.
"Dad was reminding me to become a full human being, to develop many facets of my life, just as he did."
Dr. GELLMAN and his wife spent a lot of time in Israel, where they had family. In the mid-1970s, he took a six-month sabbatical from work for an extended stay.
He was also part of a small discussion group called the Senge Circle, started more than a decade ago among business colleagues to discuss Peter Senge's management book, The Fifth Discipline. It evolved into regular breakfast meetings to chew over different business tomes.
The last meeting was in October before he went to Florida when the group delved into the Peter DRUCKER classic, The Practice of Management. Dr. GELLMAN was struck by how relevant the book was almost 50 years after he first read it.
Dr. GELLMAN, who died on April 23, leaves his wife Lily, sons Steven and Paul, and siblings Dorothy, Albert and Esther.

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BANTING o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-13 published
'What else could it have been but a miracle?'
Rene CAISSE died 25 years ago without gaining the recognition some cancer survivors believe she deserved. Without Essiac, her mysterious remedy, they wouldn't be alive today, they tell Roy MacGREGOR
By Roy MacGREGOR, Saturday, December 13, 2003 - Page F8
Bracebridge, Ontario -- These days, when she looks back at her remarkable, and largely unexpected, long life, Iona HALE will often permit herself a small, soft giggle.
She is 85 now, a vibrant, spunky woman with enough excess energy to power the small off-highway nursing home she now lives in at the north end of the Muskoka tourist region that gave the world Norman BETHUNE and, Iona HALE will die believing, possibly something far more profound.
A possible cure for cancer.
Twenty-seven years ago, Mrs. HALE sat in Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital and heard that terrifying word applied to her own pitiful condition. She was 58, and had already dropped to 75 pounds when her big, truck-driver husband, Ted, finally got her in to see the specialists who were supposed to know why she had stopped eating and was in such terrible pain.
Mrs. HALE remembers awakening in the recovery room after unsuccessful surgery and being told by a brusque nurse, "You're not going to live long, you know, dear."
"That's what you think!" she snapped back.
Ted HALE had often heard stories of a secret "Indian" medicine that an area nurse had supposedly used to cure cancer patients, but he had no idea where it could be found. He had asked a physician, only to be told, "That damned Essiac -- there's nothing to it."
When they returned to their home near Huntsville, Ontario -- with instructions to come back in three weeks, if Mrs. HALE was still around -- Mr. HALE set out to find the mysterious medicine. With the help of a sympathetic doctor, he discovered Rene CAISSE, a Bracebridge nurse who claimed to have been given the native secret back in 1922. Pushing 90 and in ill health, she agreed to give him one small bottle of the tonic, telling him to hide it under his clothes as he left.
Mr. HALE fed his wife the medicine as tea, as instructed, and it was the first thing she was able to keep down. A few radiation treatments intended to ease the pain seemingly had no effect, but almost immediately after taking the Essiac, she felt relief. When the painkillers ran out and Mr. HALE said he would go pick up more, she told him, "Don't bother -- get more of this."
Twice more, he returned to get Essiac, the second time carrying a loaded pistol in case he had to force the medicine from the old nurse. He got it, and, according to Mrs. HALE, "the cancer just drained away." She returned to Toronto for one checkup -- "The doctor just looked at me like he was seeing a ghost" -- and never returned again.
"What else could it have been," Mrs. HALE asks today, "but a miracle?"
There is nothing special to mark the grave of Rene CAISSE.
It lies in the deepening snow at the very front row of St. Joseph's Cemetery on the narrow road running north out this small town in the heart of Ontario cottage country, a simple grave with a dark stone that reads: " McGAUGHNEY Rene M. (CAISSE) 1888-1978, Discoverer of 'Essiac,' Dearly Remembered."
On December 26, it will be 25 years since Rene -- pronounced "Reen" by locals -- CAISSE died. But in the minds of many people with cancer, the great question of her life has continued on, unanswered, well beyond her death. Did she have a secret cure for the disease?
Ms. CAISSE never claimed to have a "cure" for cancer, but she did claim to have a secret native formula that, at the very least, alleviated pain and, in some cases, seemed to work what desperate cancer sufferers were claiming were miracles.
She had discovered the formula while caring for an elderly Englishwoman who had once been diagnosed with breast cancer and, unable to afford surgery, turned instead to a Northern Ontario Ojibwa medicine man who had given her a recipe for a helpful tonic.
The materials were all found locally, free in the forest: burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm bark, wild rhubarb root and water.
The woman had taken the native brew regularly and been cancer-free ever since.
Ms. CAISSE had carefully written down the formula as dictated, thinking she might herself turn to this forest concoction if she ever developed the dreaded disease. She never did, dying eventually from complications after breaking a hip, but she remembered the recipe when an aunt was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach and given six months to live. The aunt agreed to try the tonic, recovered and went on to live 21 more years.
The aunt's doctor, R.D. FISHER, was intrigued enough that he encouraged Ms. CAISSE to offer her remedy -- which she now called "Essiac," a reverse spelling of her name -- to others, and by 1926 Dr. FISHER and eight other physicians were petitioning the Department of Health and Welfare to conduct tests on this strange brew.
"We, the undersigned," the letter from the nine doctors read, "believe that the 'Treatment for Cancer' given by nurse R.M. CAISSE can do no harm and that it relieves pain, will reduce the enlargement and will prolong life in hopeless cases."
Instead of opening doors, however, the petition caused them to slam. Health and Welfare responded that a nurse had no right to treat patients and even went so far as to prepare the papers necessary to begin prosecution proceedings.
But when officials were dispatched to see her, she talked them out of taking action, and for years after, officials turned a blind eye as she continued to disperse the tonic. She made no claim that it was medication; she refused to see anyone who had not first been referred by their regular physician; and she turned down all payment apart from small "donations" to keep the clinic running.
Her work attracted the attention of Dr. Frederick BANTING, the discoverer of insulin, but an arrangement to work together foundered when he insisted they test the tonic first on mice, and Ms. CAISSE argued that humans had more immediate needs.
Her problems with authority were only beginning. A 55,000-signature petition persuaded the Ontario government to establish a royal commission to look into her work, but the panel of physicians would agree to hear only from 49 of the 387 witnesses: who turned up on her behalf -- and dismissed all but four on the grounds that they had no diagnostic proof. The commission refused to endorse Essiac, and a private member's bill that would have let her continue treating patients at her clinic fell three votes short in the legislature.
She quit when the stress drove her to the verge of collapse, moved north with her new husband, Charles McGAUGHNEY, and dropped out of the public eye. But not out of the public interest.
"You need proof?" laughs Iona HALE. " Just look at me -- I'm still here!"
Not everyone in the medical establishment dismissed Essiac. Ms. CAISSE had permitted the Brusch Medical Center near Boston to conduct experiments after Dr. Charles BRUSCH, one-time physician to John Kennedy, inquired about the mysterious cure. Tests on the formula did show some promise on mice, and the centre eventually reported: "The doctors do not say that Essiac is a cure, but they do say it is of benefit." Dr. BRUSCH even claimed that Essiac helped in his own later battle with cancer.
Other tests, though, were less encouraging. In the early 1970s, Ms. CAISSE sent some of her herbs to the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in Rye, New York but when early tests proved negative, she claimed Sloan-Kettering had completely fouled up the preparation and refused further assistance.
Through it all, she refused to disclose her recipe -- until a rush of publicity after a 1977 article in Homemaker's magazine persuaded her to hand over the formula to the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario for safekeeping and to give a copy to the Resperin Corporation of Toronto in the hopes that, eventually, scientific proof would be found.
She died without gaining the recognition some cancer survivors believe she deserved, and in 1982, the federal government declared Resperin's testing procedures flawed and shut down further studies.
The story of Ms. CAISSE's medicine carried on, however, with more and more people turning to the man who would have been her member of Parliament to see if he could help.
Stan DARLING lives in the same nursing home as Iona HALE. Now 92, Mr. DARLING spent 21 years in Ottawa as the Progressive Conservative member for Muskoka-Parry Sound. He's remembered on Parliament Hill for his crusades against acid rain, but of all his political battles, Mr. DARLING says nothing compares to his fight to gain recognition for Rene CAISSE's mysterious medicine.
"So many people came to me with their stories," he said, "that I couldn't help but say, 'Okay, there must be something to this.'"
Mr. DARLING put together his own petition, 5,000 names, and went to the minister of health and argued that so many were now using Essiac it made sense to legalize it.
His bid failed, but he did persuade the medical bureaucrats to compromise: If Essiac were seen as a "tea" rather than a "drug," it could be viewed as a tonic, and so long as the presiding physician gave his approval, it could be added to a patient's care -- if only for psychological reasons. "On that basis," Mr. DARLING says, "I said, 'I don't give a damn what you call it, as long as you let the people get it.' "
The doubters are legion. "There's no evidence that it works," says Dr. Christina MILLS, senior adviser of cancer control policy for the Canadian Cancer Society. That being said, she says, "There is also little evidence of harmful side effects from it," but cautions anyone looking into the treatment to do so in consultation with their physician.
No scientific study of Essiac has ever appeared in an accepted, peer-reviewed medical journal. But those who believe say they have given up on seeing such proof.
Sue BEST of Rockland, Massachusetts., still vividly recalls that day 10 years ago when her 16-year-old son, Billy, sick with Hodgkin's disease, decided to run away from home rather than continue the chemotherapy treatments he said were killing him.
He was eventually found in Texas after a nationwide hunt and agreed to return home only if the treatments would cease and they would look into alternative treatments, including Essiac.
No one is certain what exactly cured Billy, but Ms. BEST was so convinced Essiac was a major factor she became a local distributor of the herbal medicine.
Rene CAISSE, she says, "spent a whole life trying to help people with a product she found out about totally by accident -- and being totally maligned all her life by the whole medical establishment in Canada."
In some ways, Ms. CAISSE has had an easier time in death than in life. Today, there is a street in Bracebridge named after her, a charming sculpture of her in a park near her old clinic, and Bracebridge Publishing has released a book, Bridge of Hope, about her experiences.
The recognition is largely the work of local historian Ken VEITCH, whose grandmother, Eliza, was one of the cancer-afflicted witnesses: who told the 1939 royal commission: "I owe my life to Miss CAISSE. I would have been dead and in my grave months ago." Instead, she lived 40 more years.
Don McVITTIE, a Huntsville businessman, is a grandnephew of Rene CAISSE and says she used her recipe to cure him of a duodenal ulcer when he was 19. Now 71 and in fine health, he still has his nightly brew of Essiac before bed.
"There's something mentally satisfying about having a glass of it," he says. "I think of it more as a blood cleanser. That's what Aunt Rene always said it was. I think she'd be disappointed it hasn't been more accepted."
"Look," Ken VEITCH says, "this all started back in the 1920s. And I've said a number of times that if there was nothing to it, it would be long gone.
"But there is something to it."
Roy MacGREGOR is a Globe and Mail columnist.
The secret revealed
Debate rages in Essiac circles about the correct recipe. The most accurate rendition likely comes from Mary McPHERSON, Rene CAISSE's long-time assistant. Ms. McPHERSON, currently frail and living in a Bracebridge nursing home, swore an affidavit in 1994 in which she recorded the recipe in front of witnesses. It is essentially the same preparation distributed today by Essiac Canada International, which operates out of Ottawa. The formula appears below:
61/2 cups of burdock root (cut)
1 lb. of sheep sorrelherb, powdered
1/4 lb. of slipper elm bark, powdered
1 oz. of Turkish rhubarb root, powdered
Mix ingredients thoroughly and store in glass jar in dark, dry cupboard. Use 1 oz. of herb mixture to 32 oz. of water, depending on the amount you want to make. I use 1 cup of mixture to 256 oz. of water.
Boil hard for 10 minutes (covered), then turn off heat but leave sitting on warm plate overnight (covered).
In the morning, heat steaming hot and let settle a few minutes, then strain through fine strainer into hot sterilized bottles and sit to cool. Store in dark, cool cupboard. Must be refrigerated when opened.

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