Cancer campaigner loses her final battle

A Red Deer woman who helped make a difference in the lives of women with breast cancer in Alberta lost her battle with the disease last week.

Brenda Odovichuc

Brenda Odovichuc

A Red Deer woman who helped make a difference in the lives of women with breast cancer in Alberta lost her battle with the disease last week.

Brenda Odovichuc, 34, who died on Oct. 5, lobbied the provincial government last year to cover the cost of the breast cancer drug Tykerb as soon as possible for women with HER-2 breast cancer.

Tests showed that the drug, when taken in combination with a chemotherapy treatment called Xeloda, could slow cancer growth.

Tykerb came on the market in the summer of 2010 at a cost of about $4,000 per patient per month.

Odovichuc started taking Tykerb in August 2010, with the cost partially covered through her own health benefit plan.

She spoke out about Alberta’s lack of coverage for the drug and gathered over 3,000 signatures on a petition urging the government to fund the treatment.

After reviewing the drug, the province decided to fully fund Tykerb for patients in February.

Odovichuc was diagnosed with the aggressive form of breast cancer in 2008. Last month, test results confirmed cancer had spread to her brain and other organs.

A celebration of Odovichuc’s life will take place on Friday at 1 p.m. at CrossRoads Church.

In lieu of flowers, people are encouraged to donate to the 2012 Ride to Conquer Cancer and the team Brenda’s Bravehearts. For more information, go to www.conquercancer.ca.

Donations are also encouraged to be sent to Amanda Lindhout’s organization Global Enrichment Foundation at www.globalenrichmentfoundation.com.

— copyright Red Deer Advocate