Flood Cuts Off Patients from Cancer Treatment, Dialysis and Needed Care

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By Moira Wyton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

As floodwaters rose in Abbotsford Tuesday, 18-year-old Dylan Putz’s way to cancer treatment in Vancouver seemed to wash away along with swaths of Highway 1.
The avid mountain biker and trainee electrician was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer in September 2020. He has been making the nearly two-hour car trip from east Chilliwack to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver at least once a week for more than a year.
But when the highway washed out in floods and mudslides near Abbotsford and Hope, cutting off Chilliwack and Hope from the rest of the province, his appointment to place a stomach drain on Thursday and plans to begin a new round of chemotherapy were jeopardized.
“You don’t want to put things off… especially when having cancer treatment, any delay feels scary,” said Dylan’s mom, Carmen Putz in an interview on Thursday as Dylan recovered in hospital.
Dylan and his father, Brian Putz, were able to get on a helicopter chartered by Brian’s employer over the floods to Abbotsford, where the construction company also arranged a truck for them to drive into Vancouver.
While he made it, the younger Putz is one of likely hundreds of patients in Chilliwack and Hope areas who are scrambling to find a way to essential health care only accessible in Abbotsford and Vancouver amid record flooding, evacuations and closures of highways 1 and 7.
According to the most recent data available, in 2012 more than 720 people in Chilliwack and Hope are diagnosed with cancer each year, a number which has likely increased as...continued.

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