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Love, courage, strength of Dragon Divas built into rooftop-deck donation

Dragon Diva paddlers Carla Davies (right) and Kathy McCoy enjoy cake during Wednesday’s $8,000 donation for the Diva Deck on the rooftop of CDH’s chemotherapy unit serving some 1,500 patients annually. - Peter W. Rusland
Dragon Diva paddlers Carla Davies (right) and Kathy McCoy enjoy cake during Wednesday’s $8,000 donation for the Diva Deck on the rooftop of CDH’s chemotherapy unit serving some 1,500 patients annually.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

Love, courage and strength of the Dragon Divas now roosts on a cushy rooftop deck opened Wednesday off Cowichan hospital's cancer-clinic chemotherapy unit.

The Diva Deck project received $8,000 from the valley's breast cancer-surviving dragon-boat paddlers.

That total was teed during the Divas' ninth-annual golf tourney at Cowichan golf club, and chemo unit RN Conni Konkin was delighted.

"Patients who've used the deck say it's almost like not having chemotherapy," she said of the deck off the revamped unit that opened in February to serve some 1,500 patients a year.

The third-floor patio, furnished with cushy chairs and ottomans, plus great views was built by hospital staff.

It replaced the former Ronald McDonald play area when Cowichan District Hospital's pediatrics ward filled the space now used for chemo.

Pediatrics is also getting upgrades.

It's all good news to Diva Carla Davies who underwent cancer treatment 11 years ago on CDH's second floor.

"This is a beautiful unit. It gives you an environment to have better results because you're not as stressed," she said of the relaxed chemo unit, graced with original art donated by local painters Wendy Bradshaw and Coco Jones.

"Early diagnosis is the key."

That vital message is delivered by 36 Divas, eight of whom who raced in May against Israeli teams on the Sea of Galilee.

Back in Duncan, Amy Trippe Brophy of the CDH Foundation was happy to match money with need.

"I talked to the Divas and asked if they'd support the rooftop deck," she said, as cake was served by the Divas to medical and mechanical staff.

Davies said more survivors are being sought for paddling duty, while Konkin penned a wish list for the busy chemo unit.

"This space is wonderful but it's not big enough. We also need  PICC program to help patents," she said of a method to deliver drugs that kill cancer cells during CDH treatments lasting 10 minutes to eight hours.

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