Lightening the emotional load

Comox resident Jack Grinyer gets kisses from dog Daisy as he sits outside his room at the Inn at Laurel Point. Grinyer

Comox resident Jack Grinyer gets kisses from dog Daisy as he sits outside his room at the Inn at Laurel Point. Grinyer

Cancer treatment patients given special ‘courage rate’

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

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

“These people provide aid in giving you courage,” said Grinyer, who came to know everyone by name at the independent 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 rates.

The Laurel Point, which has the same owners as Paul’s Motor Inn, began offering what it calls the “courage rate” in 2008.

In addition to offering three different price ranges for patients, complimentary 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.

When Hansen was scheduled to undergo six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation, the couple shopped around for a place to stay.

Grinyer 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,” said Grinyer, whose wife lost her battle against the disease last August.

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

“(With this) you know you’re doing something, you’re making a connection,” said Ian Powell, general manager of the Inn at Laurel Point.

“It’s heartwarming.”

emccracken@vicnews.com