CHIMO Program Petition
A Petition To: Kevin Falcon, MLA, Minister of Health, Government of British Columbia Lynda Foley, Executive Director of Home Health and End of Life Care (Fraser Health) From: Lawrence Bibby, patient. I am writing this petition to you regarding the January 31st, 2010 cut in funding for the CHIMO Program for People With Disabilities. The CHIMO Program is in fact the only oasis left on the lower mainland for people like myself. I have a debilitating disease known as Multiple Sclerosis. I was enrolled in the CHIMO Program in October of 1991. Prior to that date, I attended the outpatient program for people with MS at Pearson Hospital in south Vancouver. With the amalgamation of Pearson Hospital and the G. F. Strong Facility under the same umbrella, the MS outpatient program at Pearson Hospital was cut. Approximately 45 people with MS, along with support staff were given notice and let go. The only program left for people with MS was the CHIMO program in Coquitlam. I then moved within the CHIMO boundaries of the TRI-City area and enrolled in the program. Not all 45 people were able to move. Very few of the 45 have survived to this date because of a lack of special programs for people with Multiple Sclerosis, A.L.S. (Lou Gehrig's disease ), Muscular Di strophe or Cerebral Palsy. Now here we are, some 19 years later, about to make the same mistakes all over again. Without consultation of any kind with the Co-coordinator, or staff of the CHIMO Program, Fraser Health has cut the funding of one of the most economically run programs in the system. The dollar savings in keeping this program open are unmeasurable, not to mention the lives that will be saved. What is to happen when the clients cannot be integrated into outside programs and they start showing up in the hospital system and Extended Care Facilities? The death toll in the CHIMO program since it's inception has been extremely low. The same cannot be said since the closing of the out patient program at Pearson Hospital. If it were not for the very special care and attention given to people like myself by the coordinator and staff at the CHIMO Program, I surely would not be here today writing this letter to you. The exercises we do every day that we attend, the swimming program, the arts and crafts, and the peace of mind we all derive from our comradeship are a very important part of staying alive. The staff at Senior programs do not have the experience, or the time to work with people with serious disabilities. Students from the Therapeutic Recreation Course at Douglas College are currently training in the CHIMO Program. Where will they now go for training? The benefits derived from the CHIMO Program are to be lauded, not destroyed and put away to be rediscovered again in another decade in the future. Because there is nowhere else for us to go from here, please stop this insanity now. We, the concerned people of B.C. hereby petition The Premier and the Government along with Fraser Health to re-examine their decision to close this most important program.