Media advisory/
Press briefing

 Ottawa, February 22, 2006

 What:   Press briefing

Who:    Heather Crowe

Where: Élisabeth Bruyère Health Centre,
43 Bruyère St, Ottawa, ON, Room 522D.

When:  Friday, February 24, 11:00 to 11:30 a.m.


Heather Crowe's condition worsens

Heather Crowe, the Ottawa waitress who was the subject of a Health Canada mass media campaign to educate Canadians about the dangers of second hand smoke, was admitted into palliative care in Ottawa this week.

Since her cancer came out of remission in the early autumn, Heather Crowe's health has continued to deteriorate.  Her cancer has spread even further, to her right arm, to her brain and possibly other locations as well.  Heather is now being cared for at the SCO Health Service’s Élisabeth Bruyère Health Centre, a palliative care unit  in Ottawa. Heather has recently received several radiation treatments, and the treatments and pain leave her exhausted. "The pain is real bad right now.  It hurts all over," Heather told us yesterday.

Heather Crowe was diagnosed three years ago with inoperable lung cancer attributable to her exposure to second-hand smoke during a 40-year career of working in restaurants, bars and banquet halls.  At the time of her diagnosis, she was given a fifteen per cent chance of surviving for five years.

Following her diagnosis, Heather filed a claim with the Workers Safety and Insurance Board and became the subject of the first successful claim for full compensation for lung cancer caused by occupational exposure to cigarette smoke. She allowed her story to be told in a powerful Health Canada advertisement and she also set out to change labour laws across Canada so that other workers would not suffer the same outcome.

Despite her failing health, Heather is determined to see that all workers in Canada and around the world are protected from second-hand smoke at work. She has travelled across Canada to promote protection for workers from second hand smoke. Despite her failing health, she continues to follow improvements to laws on public smoking and was pleased last week by the decision of the UK House of Commons to protect all workers from second-hand smoke.

Heather wants people to know that she is getting excellent care at the Élisabeth Bruyère Health Centre and is very grateful for the kindness that has been extended to her across Canada.  “I really appreciate that people have mentioned me in their prayers and have cared what happens to me,” says Heather.

Those desiring to wish Heather well can send their words of support by mail to Heather Crowe, care of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, 1226A Wellington Street, Ottawa, Canada, K1Y 3A1, by fax to 1 613 233 7797 or by email to pscNOSPAM@smoke-free.ca (remove text "NO SPAM" before sending).

The SCO Health Service provides long-term care, complex continuing care, palliative care and rehabilitation to adults affected by loss of autonomy or by chronic or terminal illness. One of the largest healthcare centres of its kind in Canada, the SCO Health Service has four sites in Ottawa: the Élisabeth Bruyère Health Centre, Saint-Vincent Hospital, Résidence Saint-Louis and Villa Marguerite. SCO Health Service also includes the Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute, one of only a few centres in Canada dedicated to studying quality of life issues for the elderly and improving rehabilitation and palliative care services.


Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada

Cynthia Callard
613 233 4878
613 850 5594 (cell)

Neil Collishaw
613 233 4878
613 297 3590 (cell)

Élisabeth Bruyère Health Centre: 

Suzanne Charest
613 562 4262, ext. 4020
613 371 8841 (cell)