An emergency C-section and a colon cancer diagnosis - all in the middle of COVID. Becky Cassidy has had her fair share of medical events. It's been three years since her world was turned upside down. Now, she's advocating for bringing MRI services to Estevan. 

"When someone's diagnosed with something like cancer, the C word, the mental health toll that it takes on a person is huge. Having to arrange travel during a time where I also had a baby and two other children and a husband that ran a business and working full time, I was on maternity leave; it was tricky and it was very emotional. It would have really made our life a lot easier had we not had to travel for the MRI and for some of the other services that we had." 

Becky has been a part of the community for about 19 years. She works for Women Building Futures and she's the event chair for the Southeast Women of Distinction Awards. In 2021, her world changed. 

"Five months after my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with colon cancer and I was just kind of recovering from an emergency C-section. [It] was a pretty, pretty traumatic time. I needed a lot of the services that St. Joseph's Hospital offers and then a lot of services that it doesn't. One of those services was an MRI. There was some shadowing on my liver where we, my healthcare team, had thought that possibly the cancer had spread to my liver. So I needed to have an MRI to have a more in-depth look."

The complications of getting an MRI scan done was exacerbated by COVID. After her gastroenterologist in Regina deemed her case to be urgent in December of 2020, she was able to get her cancer diagnosis the following April.

"It was, you know, a challenging day emotionally. We had to bring my daughter with us - I was still nursing. It was kind of in the middle of COVID. It was just a really, really tricky time. It would have made life a lot easier for myself, for my husband, and for my family, had [...] we been able to just have that MRI here in Estevan," Cassidy added. 

Within a month, following a CT scan and an MRI, Becky was able to get a right-hemicolectomy at the Regina General Hospital. 

She is one of many patients who have required MRI in southeast Saskatchewan. Becky noted that having an MRI close is a "really important aspect of a total healthcare team". 

"It's a really expensive piece of equipment and it's expensive to operate, but we've been able to do it before. We raised money for a CT scan. We have raised money for millions of dollars of equipment in the St. Joseph's Hospital. The Hospital Foundation does a really, really good job of bringing in that funding and making sure people understand how important it is."

She recognizes that due to the severity of her cancer diagnosis, she was able to get an MRI and an operation within six weeks. However, an MRI has many uses. As per the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), it can be used to look for problems such as bleeding, tumours, infection, blockage, or injury in the brain, organs and glands, blood vessels, and joints. Emergency MRIs are still being done in a timely fashion, but elective procedures are the ones commonly pushed back. SHA estimates that the wait for an MRI appointment is around 264 days. 

The St. Joseph Hospital Foundation, alongside Sun102, Country 106.1 and CJ1150, is proud to hold the Radiothon for Life on June 5th. Help raise funds to bring MRI services to Estevan and Southeast Saskatchewan. Learn more about the project at and give today!