A Port In The Storm | Safe, Affordable accommodations for critical illness patients - Winnipeg, Canada

Stories - Lawrence Traa

Meet Lawrence Traa

When Lawrence Traa was diagnosed with brain cancer, he was told he only had two years to live… that was 5years ago.

After his bleak diagnosis, Lawrence took a chance on a 14-hour operation that could have affected his sight and mobility. He survived and went on to take cancer treatments including 14 months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation.

Due to the nature of his illness, he was unable to drive. Though he lived close to Winnipeg, getting here was nearly impossible. “I had to walk four miles to catch a bus to one hospital for treatment then to another hospital and then back to the bus. My family didn’t have a car and I needed somewhere to stay.”

A hotel is expensive not only in and of itself but you can’t cook your own meals, important for many patients who must follow a special diet. Fortunately, a nurse told him about A Port in the Storm.

“I couldn’t believe it … you had your own place, you can cook your own food and you can do exactly what you need to do during your cancer treatments,” he says. “It removed a lot of stress for me going through chemo.”

“It helped me get through my cancer.”

Lawrence decided to show his gratitude to A Port in the Storm by volunteering, then joining the board, an active group of supporters with creative ideas.

Together they started the Adopt a Suite program where donors name a room, which personalizes the process both for the donor and the clients who stay here.

Lawrence was a big supporter of this program and “I adopted the first suite.”

Another initiative of the board was to raise awareness about A Port. They researched through hospitals which social workers were involved with patients and “we invited [them] here and showed them the place, showed them the benefits of the Port.”

“Now a committee with volunteers and board members is developing a strategy to get in touch with advocates and social workers around Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario making them aware.”

Another thing that makes Lawrence proud of A Port is the fact that a large percentage of donations goes directly to the clients, not the organization. “We minimize expenses through volunteers. That way we can get the room rates as low as possible.”

Lawrence says that being here made such a difference in his life he continues to be involved and not just at the board level. “I continue helping here too. I fix all the furniture…I do whatever I can do to help.”