BETHELL BETHUNE BETTMAN
BETHELL firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-02-21 published
BETHELL, James MacIntosh (1957-2003)
Much loved husband of Laurie and father of Rafe, and well loved by all Bethells, Titcombs, Wiselys, Greens, Birnies, Skutezkys, McMasters, MacDougalls, and MacFarlanes. Jamie died of cancer in Reno, Nevada on February 19, 2003. Donations may be sent to your local Cancer Centre or Foundation.
''O Man Greatly Beloved - Fear Not
Peace be unto thee.''
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BETHUNE email@example.com_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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BETTMAN firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-06-23 published
A remarkable life, and a friend to all
By Eric DUHATSCHEK Monday, June 23, 2003 - Page S1
Nashville -- Roger NEILSON's legacy in hockey will endure because he coached 1,000 games among eight National Hockey League teams, because he was an innovator and because he served as a mentor and a tutor to others during a Hall of Fame career.
But the contributions of NEILSON, who died Saturday in Peterborough, Ontario, at 69 after a lengthy battle with cancer, contain a vibrancy matched by few others because of the countless Friendships he developed during his lifetime.
The proof of that came in June of last year when a dozen of his closest Friends organized a tribute to NEILSON. It was held in Toronto, a day before the National Hockey League awards dinner, to make it easier for people to attend, which they did. More than 1,300 people were there.
NEILSON was responsible for helping several players and coaches get to the National Hockey League, including Bob GAINEY, Craig RAMSAY and Colin CAMPBELL, players on the Peterborough Petes junior team that NEILSON coached in the 1970s.
Among those who benefited from NEILSON's guidance was Florida Panthers coach Mike KEENAN. Scotty BAUMAN/BOWMAN, the Hall of Fame coach, recalled Saturday how NEILSON talked him into hiring KEENAN, who had also coached the Petes, into running the Buffalo Sabres' minor-league affiliate in Rochester, New York in the early 1980s.
"Roger didn't have any enemies," KEENAN said. "He lived his life in a principled way. He had a great deal of respect for people and found goodness in all of them. He was very unique and all of us were blessed to know him.
"I'm saddened by his passing, but to me, this is a life to be celebrated, a life that was so influential to many of us."
NEILSON had an endless fascination with the rulebook that forced the powers in whatever league he happened to be coaching in to revise and clarify each loophole he probed. For a penalty shot, he would put a defenceman in the crease instead of a goaltender, instructing the defenceman to rush the shooter as soon as the latter crossed the blueline, to hurry him into a mistake.
Once, when his team was already two players short with less than two minutes remaining in the game, NEILSON kept sending players over the boards, getting penalties for delaying the game. The strategy worked, taking time off the clock and upsetting the other team's flow. At that stage of the game, it didn't matter how many penalties NEILSON's team was taking. If a coach tried that tactic today, the opposition would be awarded a penalty shot.
NEILSON, whose last job was as an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators, coached his 1,000th National Hockey League game on the final night of the 2001-02 regular season, temporarily filling in for Senators head coach Jacques MARTIN. NEILSON was involved with a dozen National Hockey League teams in a series of different capacities, including his eight different turns as a head coach. In 1982, he took the Vancouver Canucks to the Stanley Cup final, his one and only appearance in the championship series as a coach. The Canucks were swept by the New York Islanders.
It was during that playoff run that NEILSON placed a white towel on the end of a stick, a mock surrender to the on-ice officials.
In 1999, NEILSON was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of bone cancer, and needed a bone marrow transplant. He also developed skin cancer, the result of a lifetime of being outdoors, in the sun, usually in raggedy old shorts and T-shirts, with a well-worn baseball cap perched on his head.
"He put in an incredible, inspiring fight with an insidious disease," said KEENAN, who added that NEILSON kept in constant contact with his mother Thelma, after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
"They found strength in each other. That's the type of individual Roger was. He'd reach out and touch somebody who needed help. He was deathly in pain the last few times we spoke, but he would not let it influence his life."
The high regard for NEILSON was clear during the tribute for him last year. Former coach and Hockey Night in Canada analyst Harry NEALE, who worked with NEILSON in Vancouver, was the master of ceremonies. But he was so overcome by emotion so many times that he let his good friend Roger steal the show.
NEILSON's self-deprecating sense of humor surfaced when he scanned the crowd and suggested that everyone he'd ever said hello to in his lifetime had turned up for the event. He quipped that at $125 a ticket, it must be an National Hockey League production. What other organization would set the price so outrageously high?
NEILSON's health was deteriorating this spring, but he managed to accompany the Senators on the road for their second-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Senators pushed the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the New Jersey Devils, to seven games in the Eastern Conference final before being eliminated.
NEILSON's speech to the team before Game 6, with the Senators trailing 3-1 in the series, was cited by the players and the coaching staff as the inspiration for their comeback against the Devils.
"The only sad part is we weren't able to win a Stanley Cup for him this year," Martin said.
With his health failing, NEILSON asked BAUMAN/BOWMAN to be the keynote speaker at his annual coaching clinic in Windsor earlier this month.
"I talked to him only a week ago," BAUMAN/BOWMAN said. "I said, 'The coaches in the National Hockey League are getting blamed a lot for the [defensive] style that teams are playing.' I said, 'You should blame Roger NEILSON because he's the one training all these coaches.'
"Roger was a special person. The people that follow hockey know what he went through. I truly think he battled it right to the end and it was hockey that probably kept Roger going." email@example.com
Remembering Roger NEILSON
"The coaches in the National Hockey League have been getting blamed a lot for the style of game the teams are playing. I said, 'You should blame Roger NEILSON because he's training all these coaches.' "He battled right to the end. Hockey and life for Roger were intertwined. That probably kept him going to the end. He never got married. He was married to hockey."
"All the awards he won this year tell you about his hockey career's innovativeness and what kind of person he is. Some people are going to remember Roger for nothing to do with hockey just because of what a humanitarian he is. He put up an unbelievable battle. From when he found out how sick he was, if had happened to most people, they would have had their demise many months ago. He fought hard."
"I know I haven't met a person who could equal Roger's passion for hockey. The honours bestowed on him in the past year, the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Order of Canada, did not come by accident. He has done so much for so many kids and I will always remember that legacy."
"He's an individual we can all be inspired by, by his ability to deal with some difficult situations in his own life. He has such a high level of respect for human beings. "He was fortunate in way he lived his life. It was impacted by his faith and his religion. He observed those principles on a daily basis, things most of us have a hard time dealing with. He saw the goodness in everyone else."
"He did a lot of work at the grassroots level with his hockey camps, coaches' clinics, his baseball teams, his summer programs. He wasn't really in it for himself very much. "It's a word you use too often to make it special but in his case he was unique, he really was."
"Hockey has lost a great mind, a great spirit, a great friend. The National Hockey League family mourns his loss but celebrates his legacy -- the generations of players he counselled, the coaches he moulded, the changes his imagination inspired and the millions of fans he entertained."
Life and times
Born: June 16, 1934, in Toronto.
Education: Roger NEILSON graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton with a degree in physical education.
Nickname: Captain Video because he was the first to analyze game videos to pick apart opponents' weaknesses.
Coaching career: NEILSON coached hockey teams for 50 years. He was a National Hockey League coach for Toronto, Buffalo, Vancouver, Los Angeles, the New York Rangers, Florida, Philadelphia and Ottawa. The Senators let him coach a game on April 13, 2002, so he could reach 1,000 for his career. He was an National Hockey League assistant in Buffalo, Chicago, St. Louis and Ottawa.
Major Honours: Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builders category last year. Invested into the Order of Canada in May.
Tributes: ESPN Classic Canada will air a 24-hour tribute to NEILSON beginning today at 6 p.m. eastern daylight time. The programming will include a profile, footage from the famous white towel game during the 1982 Stanley Cup playoffs and his 1,000th game behind the bench.
Funeral: Services for NEILSON will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday at North View Pentecostal Church in Peterborough, Ontario (705-748-4573). The church is at the corner of Fairbairn Street and Tower Hill Road.
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