The Godin family pose for a fall photo. Father Jason Godin is fighting glioblastoma brain cancer. Here, the 37-year-old smiles with his wife Karen and his children, Haley and Lucas. A GoFundMe was created to help pay for some of the unexpected expenses as well as the cost of his oral chemotherapy medication. (Submitted photo)
Jason Godin’s Fight: community outpouring of
donations, support for local man battling brain cancer
By Patricia Leboeuf
Posted on Thursday March 25, 2021
Despite fighting glioblastoma brain cancer, volunteer firefighter and Commissionaire Barrack Warden at Garrison Petawawa Jason Godin’s focus is on his family.
The wellbeing of his wife Karen and their two kids, Haley, 9, and Lucas, 6, is always at the forefront of his thoughts. The love he feels for them is what fuels him and keeps him going through the worst of it.
“I’m trying my best to get out there and get things back to normal as much as I can without stressing my body too much,” said the 37-year-old.
During the first phase of his treatment, Godin had to make the two-hour journey to the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre for radiation treatments every day. He’s lucky that friends and family members have stepped up and volunteered their time to take him there and back. Still, the trip takes up most of the day, and he often finds himself exhausted once he gets home.
At night, he must take his chemotherapy pill. Finishing his six to eight-month oral chemotherapy treatment will cost him multiple thousands of dollars, as the government doesn’t cover the cost of the cancer meds. They leave him shaky, weak and nauseous, and unable to sleep. Soon he’ll have to double the dosage, which means worse side effects.
But the pill keeps the cancer at bay, and he finds himself growing stronger each day from the time he was first diagnosed in January.
The Ottawa Valley native had just responded to a call for service after a vehicle hit a moose and was filling out paperwork when he started feeling sick.
“I couldn’t write, I wasn’t able to talk,” said Godin.
He asked to be brought home to see his wife and children before being taken to the hospital by ambulance as he worried he would never see them again.
At the Pembroke Regional Hospital, they found a brain bleed. So he was sent to Ottawa, where an MRI revealed a tumour.
A week later, they removed the glioblastoma brain cancer, and further treatment began.
It was a terrifying time.
“Because of COVID, I spent most of my time alone and it was very dark times,” said Godin, adding that the medication gave him flashbacks to traumatic firefighting incidents.
But he opened up to his loved ones, sharing with them what he was experiencing. He found that it helped a lot to talk to people, and he discovered just how loved he was.
And he has warranted that love.
Described as kind, genuine, and generous by his best friend Greg Thuemen, Godin is the type of person who would give the shirt off his back to someone in need. His friend’s selflessness and good-natured soul inspired Thuemen to organize a GoFundMe. It has the goal of raising $42,000, which will help the family while they navigate the unexpected expense of dealing with cancer.
The outpouring of generosity has been overwhelming. And Godin will be eternally grateful for the help he received, whether through the fundraiser, dropping off a meal or just a kind ear to listen. His list of those to thank is long and detailed, including his fellow firefighters, neighbours and friends, the staff at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, several local churches and the healthcare workers at the cancer center.
His wife Karen and mother, Theresa Godin, have been his strength through it all. They have been with him every step of the way, offering support and assistance with anything he needs. Without them, he would be lost.
He is also most grateful to his best friend.
“Greg is quite the guy,” Godin said emotionally.
“He’s just always there helping me. And it just means the world to me.
“He’s my best friend and he’s there for me. I can never repay him.”
It has been very hard for Karen to watch her husband suffer through the cancer’s effects. There has been a rollercoaster of emotions as she helps care for Godin while co-raising two kids and running a home daycare. Her friends have also been immensely supportive and check in on her daily.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, the average price for oral chemotherapy is $6,000 per month, with some people paying over $100,000 a year for treatment. It is estimated that Godin will have to pay a little less than half that for his course of chemotherapy.
Some programs can help with the costs that aren’t covered by private insurance, such as Trillium Drug Program, Exceptional Access Program (EAP) and the Ontario Drug Benefit Program (ODB) for those over 65. Many of these programs, however, have strict guidelines that some patients do not fall under.
To donate to Jason Godin’s Fight, please visit www.gofundme.com/f/jason-godins-fight.