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A story of two proud Canadians connected at the QEH

As we observe Canada Day today, we want to share a story about two proud Canadians who almost met in Cairo decades ago, but happened to connect years later through shared experiences at the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre.

Cancer survivor Bill Henry had walked past our Foundation office many times during his treatments this past winter. Doreen Kays’ photo was displayed in the window, as she had recently shared her cancer story with donors to the QEH Foundation.

Each time Bill passed by, he was reminded of a time he and fellow Islander Doreen Kays had almost met. On Bill’s final day of treatment, he stopped in to tell us this beautiful story.

Some may recognize Bill as a retired Canadian Armed Forces senior combat officer with the United Nations who served in five separate conflicts around the world. Others may know Bill as father of four girls including Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer for B.C. and one of Canada’s heroes in the COVID-19 pandemic response.

On October 6th, 1981, while Bill was serving in Lebanon and on a visit to Cairo, Doreen was working as an ABC News’ Cairo Bureau Chief/Correspondent. Both were at a military parade when Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, was assassinated. Bill was on his way to say hello to a fellow Islander he recognized abroad when shots rang out.
Henry said they never did connect that day and now, almost forty years later, he saw an opportunity.

“Not only were we both in Cairo on that tragic day, we’ve both been patients of the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre,” says Henry. “Thanks to the QEH Foundation, I finally got to speak to Doreen and discuss our shared experiences.”

“Serving for 27 years in Canada’s military around the world has taught me how fortunate we are to live in this province and in this country during this dreadful pandemic. We should be very proud of P.E.I.’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, and everyone working to keep Canadians safe as they are doing a great job.”

He adds Dr. Morrison and his daughter often consult and are helping steer our country in the right direction.

“Finally, I want to say how proud I am of cancer survivors like Doreen who share their story as she certainly inspired me and so many others,” says Henry. “I also what to thank the public for contributing to the medical equipment that is needed. As Canadians, we are fortunate to have one of the best health care systems in the world.”