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Did you know that 11,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed every year in Canada? It is the 4th most common cancer in men and the 12th most common in women.

When caught early, there is 97% less risk of reoccurrence within 5 years of diagnoses.

This is why we recognize May as Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. Bladder Cancer Canada’s “If you see red, call your doctor” campaign saves lives by encouraging people not to wait, but to get checked out today.

“If you see blood in your urine even once you should get to your doctor. Often times people are shocked and think if I see it again, I’ll do something about it. Even if it’s once, see a doctor and get an assessment,” said Ferg Devins, Chairman of the Board at Bladder Cancer Canada.

Ferg is a bladder cancer survivor himself. Bladder Cancer Canada was helpful and supportive in providing him with patient resources and, now that he’s better, he’s committed to giving back.

“Our raising awareness in May is twofold, to generally raise awareness and also to attract patients to Bladder Cancer Canada so that we can support them on their journey,” he explained.

Ferg said that being diagnosed can become an isolating experience and that his organization aims to prevent that added stress.

“You feel alone, like you’re the only one who’s ever faced this,” he said.

Bladder Cancer Canada has a number of resources on their website including patient guidebooks and bladder cancer discussion forums as well as a support network across the country to help patients along their journey.

Their one-on-one support program allows patients to connect with bladder cancer survivors who have been through a similar situation and can council newly diagnosed individuals on what they might expect.

“I get phone calls from across Canada to support new patients and try to answer their questions about the journey that they’re starting on,” said Gerry Ross, Regional Community Ambassador from Bladder Cancer Canada.

Ferg said that Gerry is instrumental in ensuring that their bladder cancer awareness message is getting out there and that they are helping their patient community. He was also responsible for getting Health Canada to recognize May as the official bladder cancer awareness month!

“It all started back in 2015 when I was diagnosed with bladder and prostate cancer. Fortunately, it was caught soon enough that now, 5 years later, I’m doing quite well. I’m free of cancer right now. I had to have a radical cystectomy. I lost my bladder to the operation, but everything was contained and I’m living a good life,” Gerry explained.

Gerry is not only doing one-on-one peer support, but he also leads a fundraising walk for bladder cancer in Kingston and helped start a bladder cancer awareness club at Queens University.

Gerry lives across the water from Kingston on Howe Island and has been a member of the Xplornet family since the beginning.

“I was one of your first customers,” he said.

Now, he uses his Internet connection to do his advocacy work from his home on the East end of this beautiful 9-mile-long island.

“It’s really important to me to have an Internet connection to maintain my communications with Bladder Cancer Canada headquarters in Toronto and with our supporters here in the region between Bellville, Brockville and Kingston. I couldn’t do it without it,” he said.

Outside of his regular video meetings with the teams at Bladder Cancer Canada, Gerry also uses his connection to stay in touch with family.

“Especially with COVID right now, it’s great to see my brothers and sisters once in a while. And they live all across Ontario. North Bay, Stratford, Goderich. It saves me long drives too,” he said.

Ferg is a rural Canadian himself from Coney Island on Lake of the Woods in Kenora Ontario.

“I grew up on Lake of the Woods, so it has always had a very special place in my heart and every summer for the last 30 years we’ve come back to Kenora,” he said.

Ferg became an Xplornet customer five years ago.

“I found that the land line dialup service provided by the local telecom was inadequate because the lines run under the water and hadn’t been replaced for many years. I was getting less that 2.5 Mbps. When I looked into Xplornet, I found their speed options were such an improvement,” he explained. “Given that I’m in communications I need a strong signal for video editing, social media posting and meeting via Zoom. Xplornet provided me a reliable and consistent service.”

Gerry said that he would recommend Xplornet’s service to anyone in a rural area.

“Xplornet’s live customer service team is available 24/7 and is always friendly and helpful in resolving my concerns especially during COVID when I am relying so much on the Internet to connect with family and business,” he said.

We couldn’t be prouder to support Ferg and Gerry in their important work.

If you or a loved one is looking for more information about when to call your doctor or the support services offered by Bladder Cancer Canada, visit their website here.

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