Milton woman turns to community for government denied healthcare


Kimm Fletcher is a 41-year-old Milton resident and mother of two children.

She has been diagnosed with Advanced Stage 4 brain cancer and has been denied government coverage for a medication that could prolong her life from two to 18 months.

Fletcher’s oncologist recommended the drug Avastin as treatment for her tumour, and with only two injections, Fletcher’s tumour stopped growing.

But Avastin injections costs $8,400 per month and the drug isn’t covered by Fletcher’s insurance or OHIP.

Avastin is covered by OHIP for those suffering from colorectal cancer and is covered for brain cancer patients in B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Fletcher was forced to go to the media and plead for the help of friends, family and the general public to raise enough funds to get her to an eight-month mark – her daughter’s First Communion.

The response to her plight was above and beyond anything her family could have expected.

“We’re depending on public funds and fundraising and thank God they pulled through for us because we were looking at selling our house or business,” Fletcher said. “Those were our options.”

Her story has called both community members and politicians to action, with Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh and Whitby MPP and health critic Christine Elliott rallying for her cause.

“It’s wonderful to know that she has that degree of public support and generosity, but you know we have a health care system for a reason,” Elliott said. “Our system should respond to the needs of patients when they need help and this government has basically turned their back on her.”

Chudleigh has started a petition for Fletcher’s cause that collects signatures and is being read before the House almost daily. He was able to secure an appointment between Fletcher and the Minister of Health, Deb Matthews, at Queen’s Park on Oct. 30.

“I didn’t get anything from that, other than that she felt for me,” said Fletcher. “It doesn’t make any sense, we all pay taxes. This is something that was promised by the Liberal government pre-election and then when they got in power they were able to change it so they get to measure out who’s worth the money and who’s not.”

Sheri Fritzley, general manager of Shoeless Joe’s Milton is another person who heard Fletcher’s story and set to work on supporting the cause.

Kimm stands in front of one of the fully loaded raffle prize tables at the Milton Shoeless Joe's fundraiser.

Kimm stands in front of one of the fully loaded raffle prize tables at the Milton Shoeless Joe’s fundraiser.

The restaurant held an enormous day-long fundraising event on Sunday, Nov. 24 called Fletcher’s Family Fun Day, with money being raised from raffle and silent auction prizes as well as 15 per cent of food sales being donated to the cause.

“There was a huge response from the community, there were over 100 prizes donated,” Fritzley said. “We’re dedicating the money to her family, so that she can make the most of the time she has with them.”

Fletcher was in good spirits at the event, surrounded by her children, husband and countless community members showing their support.

“Today is good energy. Whenever I come to something like this it just heighten my spirits,” she said. “Spiritually and physically, it just gives me a boost.”

Fletcher’s personal fundraising website on has raised more than $100,000, providing her with enough Avastin treatments for the next year.

But Fletcher isn’t done fighting, not just for herself but for those who will come after her.

“With how many people have contacted me with their stories, it made me realize this is bigger than me, this is bigger than Avastin,” she said. “The quality of life is just as important as cost, and that’s what people vote on. They don’t vote on a dollar amount, they vote on how our government treats us.”

“I think its inhumane, they keep saying they want to keep the politics out of it,” said Chudleigh. “They put the politics into cancelling gas plants, and now they don’t want to make a political decision when a woman’s life is hanging by a thread.”

Fletcher’s story is growing along with the funds for her treatment.

The event at Shoeless raised around $7,000, as well as community awareness.

“We’re blessed to have been given this amount of time and just so grateful to our community and the strangers who have donated,” said Fletcher. “I want to thank them by paying it forward, by doing what we can for other people in my situation. We continue to advocate, we’re not done.”

Big and small businesses alike came together to donate prizes for Shoeless Joe's Fletcher Family Fun Day.

Big and small businesses alike came together to donate prizes for Shoeless Joe’s Fletcher Family Fun Day.