Family raises $50,000 to bring home N.S. man with terminal cancer

A Nova Scotia man with terminal cancer is preparing to return home one last time, after a fundraiser in his name raised more than $50,000.

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Cameron Conrad is originally from Lawrencetown Beach, N.S., but he's spent years dividing his time between Atlantic Canada and Grande Prairie, Alta., where he worked.

The 57-year-old was in Grande Prairie when he began to experience pain and went to the doctor's for a diagnosis in November, 2015.

At first, doctors believed Conrad had shingles. But when the pain intensified they found the true cause: cancer in his lungs and bones.

"We don't really know how much time he has. He's done with treatment so his cancer's very aggressive and moving very fast," Conrad's wife, Marilyn Conrad, told CTV Calgary. "It could be weeks, it could be a month."

Since his diagnosis, Conrad has been bedridden in Calgary.

His dying wish is to return home, but he doesn't have the strength to sit up in a regular plane. Instead, he needs a special medevac to transport him, and that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

"I'm trying to get home to Nova Scotia," Conrad says in a video filmed from his bed at Foothills Hospital in Calgary. "I just want to try and get home before I die."

Determined to help him, Conrad's friends and family launched an online fundraiser.

By Tuesday morning, the GoFundMe page had raised more than $50,000, and attracted the attention of Stephen Woodburn, the president and CEO of Advanced Paramedic Ltd.

Woodburn's business owns and operates both ground and air ambulances, and the CEO says he'll help get Conrad home, even if the dying man can't pay the full amount.

"I don't like to let dollars and cents get in the way of getting somebody home," Woodburn said. "If that's their last wish, then I think it's the least that we can do to make an effort."

On Monday, Marilyn Conrad said her family is grateful for the outpouring of support.

"It's hard to believe how many people out there really care and want to help and support," she said. "It's very important so that when he passes, he passes away with family and friends and ones that love him."

The family says the final hurdle in Conrad's journey is securing a bed at the QEII Hospital in Halifax.

Once that is complete, they hope to fly Conrad home in the next couple of days.

With files from CTV Calgary


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