Innovating in-the-moment care: Harold Kewley’s Story

Harold Kewley

Harold Kewley was never really in love with the idea of school. Instead, he found his passion playing every sport under the sun and establishing a successful career in real estate at the ripe age of 22. For several decades, Harold’s life revolved around hockey sticks, golf clubs and supporting his St. Thomas neighbours to find their forever homes. Until, one day, a lump on his neck stopped Harold in his tracks.  

In December 2020, after imaging tests ordered by his dermatologist confirmed Harold’s lump was cancerous, he was referred to Dr. Kevin Fung at the London Regional Cancer Program (LRCP). To determine the type and severity of Harold’s cancer, the renowned otolaryngologist arranged for Harold to undergo PET scans, blood work, a biopsy and more. Once the results came back, Dr. Fung explained Harold had a form of head and neck cancer and would need to begin radiation immediately. In addition to his radiation treatments, Harold would also go through two rounds of chemotherapy. 

“I never smoked in my life,” Harold says. “I was a runner and sports were always my reason to get up and get going. I never even took a single sick day. Yet, there I was, with this thing on my neck that could kill me. I was terrified.” 

Five times a week, for seven weeks, Harold visited the Regional Cancer Centre. There, he was placed under the care of radiation oncologist, Dr. Venkatesan, who, after 35 rounds of treatment, had to deliver the hard-hitting news that Harold’s radiation didn't work. Fortunately, the care practitioners across London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) operate as part of a wonderfully interconnected system. So, when the radiation didn’t take, Dr. Venkatesan reconnected Harold with Dr. Fung to perform a neck dissection.  

“The whole team was absolutely fantastic,” Harold says emphatically. “They were constantly innovating to improve my outcomes. When one thing didn’t take, they worked together to come up with a solution that would. Experiencing that level of commitment to care gave me hope, even when things went off track.”  

Dr. Fung removed 25 lymph nodes from Harold’s neck, and 19 staples were required to close the resulting wound. At his follow-up appointment, Dr. Fung was happy to tell Harold the surgery was a success. And for the past two years, Harold’s prognosis has remained positive at each of his quarterly appointments.   

“I would trust my life in the hands of any person I’ve met at LHSC,” Harold shares. “I feel very fortunate to have had such an incredible team of professionals and to benefit in all the ways I did.” 

Fast forward to late 2022, Harold was diagnosed with prostate cancer. But like before, Harold was determined to fight. With Dr. Ahmad by his side, he braved the grueling treatment plan that lay ahead. Fifteen radiation treatments, 30 agonizing days of hormone therapy pills, a Lupron injection and then brachytherapy. 

Through it all, he’s hopeful and is scheduled to receive an update on his results from Dr. Ahmad at the end of March.

In addition to strongly encouraging his loved ones and peers to get lumps, bumps and everything else checked, Harold wanted to share his story to thank the compassionate and efficient practitioners at every level of LHSC. Be it the kindness of the porters or the perseverance of his pre- and post-operative team, it truly takes a village to care for a patient.  

Today, Harold’s village continues to check in. Unexpectantly, a call came in on a lazy Saturday afternoon. It was Dr. Fung, checking in to see how Harold was doing. The warmth and concern in his voice touched Harold's heart in a way he could never forget. In that moment, he realized the saying was true: people don't care how much you know until they know that you care. And for Harold, that caring gesture meant everything.

Invest in the first-class wraparound care provided at LHSC by donating to its cancer program today. You can be the difference in the lives of more people like Harold.  


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