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Nancy shares her Sault Area Hospital cancer care experience

It was fall of 2021 when Nancy Hutchinson was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer.

While Nancy had been born in Sault Ste. Marie, she lived most of her adult life away from the North. Her experiences at Sault Area Hospital before this had been “popsicles and ice cream” after having tonsils removed when she was young. This time, it was a much different experience.

“I am blown away by how quickly things happened,” Nancy shared. “My phone rang constantly, with ‘Sault Area Hospital’ on the call display.”

Nancy’s Cancer Care team at Sault Area Hospital was on it, making sure she was on board with their recommendations and treatment plan. By December 2021, the team had found the “primary” source of the cancer: a mass close to Nancy’s spinal cord.

Nancy holds her mask to her face. It is made of a white mesh, and covers her entire face.
Nancy wore a mask to keep her head still during radiation therapy. She named her mask “Hugo”!

To preserve Nancy’s ability to walk, treatments started with 5 rounds of radiation therapy. Nancy was fitted for a special mask, which would hold her head in the exact right position during treatment. Nancy named her mask “Hugo”.

“It can be very scary to be strapped down and confined during radiation,” Nancy shared, “but I felt I had my own personal cheering squad for each treatment. The staff were so friendly.”

After radiation came more treatment, including Chemotherapy. “I remember how scared I felt for my first treatment,” said Nancy. “Because of COVID, I had to come alone. A wonderful nurse talked me through the process and was so gentle with me, even offering a sandwich and tea while receiving treatment. All the nurses in the Chemo Suite are amazing.”

When Nancy went to write out a list of everyone who provided outstanding care for her at Sault Area Hospital, the letter was 4 pages long! It included everyone from physicians and nurses, to technicians, receptionists, and pharmacists.

Your support makes outstanding cancer care possible!

The teams that cared for Nancy depend on critical tools. Imaging equipment that was used to locate the mass. Infusion pumps to deliver chemotherapy medication. Lab equipment to run tests, tracking the progress of treatment. All of this equipment is purchased with donations to Sault Area Hospital Foundation.

“If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a team to kick Cancer’s butt!” Nancy joked. She expressed her gratitude to the people who support local healthcare.

“Though this diagnosis is something I will live with for the rest of my life, I am so glad to have this team on my side and grateful that we have such excellent services at Sault Area Hospital.”

Nancy smiles at the camera as she rings the bell in the cancer clinic.
Nancy “rings the bell” to signal the end of her chemotherapy treatments at Sault Area Hospital.


When you have a positive care experience, you can give back!

The Grateful Patient Program allows you to make a gift in honour of a caregiver or department that deserve recognition. The caregiver will get a card and a pin, and your gift will support the purchase of critical equipment for Sault Area Hospital.

Learn more about recognizing outstanding care professionals at




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