Wednesday 2 March 2011

Roadshow: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Today started bright and early with a drive through a Winnipeg blizzard to catch a 7am flight to Saskatoon via Calgary. Now you are probably wondering why I flew all the way to Calgary and then went back east to Saskatoon. Seems counterproductive right? The short answer is airfare.  I elected to save close to $1,000 to sacrifice an additional 3 hours to travel time. The strange thing is, I wanted to prove it with today’s pricing and it looks like you can fly direct starting tomorrow for $199. Jokes on me I guess.

Mr.  Doug Richarson of McKercher LLP, a caring and determined friend of one of our Answering TTP Board Members, Alexis Levine of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, was there with a nice warm coffee to meet me. The warm coffee tasted better than ever; maybe that had something to do with being awake at 5am or the temperature that was into the minus thirties! 

We drove to meet with Dr. David Poulin, Vice President, Medical Affairs, Saskatoon Health Region who was filling in for Jean Morrison, President and CEO of St. Paul’s Hospital during his vacation. Dr. Poulin was very responsive to my presentation and happy to help organize further meetings with medical staff.

Our next meeting was kindly organized through Nurse Jennifer Larson. She assembled a receptive and caring group of medical staff consisting of herself, another nurse, Dr. Mainra and a social worker. It was new and valuable to include a social worker. She was able to bring another perspective to the meetings that reaffirmed our belief in the value of connecting new patients with the community in an effort to mitigate feelings of isolation. In the past couple of years there have only been a small handful of TTP patients treated at St. Paul’s. What is interesting is that ½ of these cases were male; TTP has been known to occur predominantly in females.

At the end of the day I was able to catch up with Dr. Otto Moodly who was very receptive to the Answering TTP initiatives including the distribution of the new TTP patient brochures, described in more detail in my last blog entry. Dr. Moodly emphasized the need for rare disease groups to form a unified group to help research and a unified voice to help ensure access to new treatment options despite the price tag these new drugs for rare disorders usually have.

Today has been filled with new and sincerely interested people. I look forward to their feedback to help continue to develop our initiatives. Definitely a successful day in Saskatoon.

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