‘Courage rate’ lifts cloud of worry

Tomas Dosil

Tomas Dosil

A dark cloud of exhaustion, worry and sickness loomed over Jack Grinyer and his wife Anne Hansen.

When they swung open the doors to the Inn at Laurel Point the ever-present cloud seemed to fade when they were welcomed by hotel staff who would become their extended family.

“These people (at the inn) provide aid in giving you courage,” said Grinyer who came to know everyone by name at the independently-owned James Bay hotel.

“A place like that is God’s gift to you.”

The couple’s world was rocked in 2009 when Hansen was diagnosed with lung cancer. Within weeks they found themselves driving from their Courtenay home to the B.C. Cancer Agency Vancouver Island Centre in Victoria.

It’s the only place on the Island where radiation therapy is provided. For those facing long-term treatment far from home, travel expenses can add to the stress.

For that reason, patients can choose from a list of more than a dozen places in Greater Victoria which offer reduced hotel medical rates.

The Laurel Point Inn, which includes Paul’s Motor Inn, began offering what it calls the courage rate in 2008. In addition to offering three different price ranges for patients, complementary rooms are also provided to those struggling to make ends meet.

“Everyone at Laurel Point and Paul’s has a special place in their heart for cancer patients,”said Nancy Payeur, team leader for the Vancouver Island Centre’s patient and family counselling services. “The inn has a history of being very generous.”

When Hansen was scheduled to undergo six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation, the couple shopped around for a place to stay. Grinyer still remembers his wife’s reaction when she walked into their spacious ground-floor garden suite at Laurel Point.

“It changed her mental outlook instantly just knowing she was taken care of,” Grinyer said whose wife lost her battle against the disease last August.

Last year, 350 rooms, including 49 complementary, were provided through the courage rate at Laurel Point, plus 387 at Paul’s.

“We thought, ‘what could we do to make it easier?’” said Ian Powell, general manager of the Inn at Laurel Point. “(With this) you know you’re doing something, you’re making a connection.

“It’s heartwarming.”

emccracken@vicnews.com

Did you know?

• More than 50 per cent of patients at the B.C. Cancer Agency Vancouver Island Centre travel from beyond Malahat Drive.

• The centre’s patient catchment area is the entire Island and the Gulf Islands.