Nunavut man donates half of $5,000 dog team prize to help cancer patient
“I want to be part of her healing process,” he said. “I wanted to win for her”
(Updated, April 28, 8:00 a.m.)
Brenda Qiyuk says it’s the best news her family has received in ages — her sister, Janice Simailak, who is undergoing treatment for cancer in Toronto, received a large donation this weekend.
“Words can’t express how thankful we are,” said Qiyuk, reached in Winnipeg, where she lives.
Andrew Porter of Gjoa Haven recently decided to donate his half of his $5,000 winning purse (not the entire amount as previously misstated) from Rankin Inlet’s Pakallak Tyme spring festival dog team race to Simailak.
Reached in Rankin Inlet, Porter said he wanted to win for Simailak, who is his cousin. His win — and decision to help Simailak— felt “very very rewarding,” he said.
“I just felt I wanted to do something for my cousin. I want to be part of her healing process,” he said. “I wanted to win for her.”
Porter said he doesn’t have much money, but he has what he needs — and money comes and goes.
But family and love, he said, mean more than money.
“It’s not about money, it’s about help,” Porter said.
Simailak of Baker Lake recently reached out to the public for help online because she is not receiving any Government of Nunavut assistance in Toronto where she has undergone surgery and is now enduring a six-month bout of chemotherapy.
She and her husband Darryl have gone into debt so she can get the medical treatment she needs and which she sought — but didn’t receive — back in Baker Lake.
After months of discomfort and repeated visits to the health clinic in Baker Lake, Simailak discovered only last October from doctors in Toronto that she suffers from intestinal cancer.
Simailak had heard about online fundraising campaigns which is why she said she decided to go on GoFundMe, with the goal of raising $12,000 to help with their mounting bills.
You can see her GoFundMe page here. As of April 27, she had raised $3,760, not including Porter’s gift.
Other Nunavut patients stranded in the South are also appealing for help through GoFundMe.
A Nunavut woman, Uviluq Naukatsik of Rankin Inlet, who recently received a heart transplant, has reached out for help through an online crowdfunding campaign.
And a Gjoa Haven man undergoing treatment for cancer at an Edmonton hospital turned to online crowdfunding for money to help reunite his family.