Tbaytel Tamarack House is a Home Away from Home for Northwestern Ontario Residents

Published Monday, June 6, 2022

Tbaytel Tamarack House is a Home Away from Home for Northwestern Ontario Residents

Meet Anthony Kadikoff – Supporter, Fundraiser, and Advocate

Sometimes the opportunity to do good just comes knocking. Take Anthony Kadikoff, a born and bred Northern Ontarian who landed in Fort Frances decades ago for a job at the paper mill. One of his co-workers suggested he might like to join the Elks, which he did, and when the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation (TBRHSF) was looking for a regional representative, Anthony, with his extensive Elks fundraising background, was a natural fit. He signed up for an initial 3-year term, but, as he says with a laugh, “You know how things are once you’re involved with a charity – just try to get out.”

When Anthony joined TBRHSF, the board was on the verge of supporting what is now Tbaytel Tamarack House – the entire top floor of the Medical Centre, just metres from the hospital. He remembers the launch of Home Away from Home, a campaign to raise funds to outfit and furnish the interior, and right away he travelled mile after mile to promote Tamarack House throughout the region, talking to people, reaching out to businesses, and providing communities with information.

From there, Anthony says, “the idea just took off and money started rolling in.” Anthony and his brothers personally pledged support for a patient room at Tamarack House, the Elks came on board with significant funds, regional folks and businesses were generous, and Tbaytel stepped forward to pledge $100,000 for naming rights, which, as Anthony recalls, “really sealed the deal for the acceptance and completion of Tamarack House.”

Aside from convenient lodging, Anthony feels the real benefit of Tbaytel Tamarack House is the camaraderie: “Patients and families are encouraged to get out of their rooms, there’s a piano there, TVs, card games, and the best feature is, you just go down the elevator and you’re at the cancer centre.” When he witnesses people from regional communities share stories, or gather around the piano, he sees them forget about their sickness for a while, and thinks this makes better outcomes – even cures.

Local support for Tbaytel Tamarack House extends to meals too. “Different committees and groups in Thunder Bay come walking in to the kitchen at supper hour with two or three big lasagnas, and then a bunch of salads come in, and it’s daily like that,” Anthony says. “It’s a wonderful sight. You don’t even have to go down the streets to a restaurant.”

Anthony credits his enthusiasm for Tbaytel Tamarack House to his stay at Amethyst House (Port Arthur General Hospital site) while his wife had cancer treatment: “It was just a wee place, but it was a welcome landing place as I travelled back and forth from Fort Frances.” Immediately, he saw the enormous benefit of Tbaytel Tamarack House – a comfortable place for regional cancer patients to make themselves at home without paying out of pocket because fees are equal to the amount patients receive from the Northern Health Travel Grant.

It’s easy to forget the thousands of regional residents who need access to facilities, expertise, and services at TBHRSC, often in times of medical crisis. “With distance, weather, disruptions and accidents, plus dealing with illness, travel can be tremendous and difficult,” Anthony says. “This inspired me to do the best I could to make Tbaytel Tamarack House a reality.” Sixteen years ago, Tbaytel believed that a place like Tamarack House was a sure way to help regional patients deal with cancer treatment and pledged to live up to their brand promise, “we take care of our neighbourhood.”

Since 2005, Tbaytel Tamarack House offers lodging for out-of-town patients and their companions for the duration of cancer treatment. It offers 20 bedrooms with private bathrooms, kitchen facilities, a lounge, entertainment, laundry area, and 24-hour on-site attendant.

*During COVID-19, Tbaytel Tamarack House has changed how it provides services, following TBRHSC protocols.


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