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Radon: Nursing Students' Perspective

RE: Radon awareness and the risk to your health. 

Cigarettes, second-hand smoke, asbestos, and pollution are all well-known cancer causing agents. However, many people do not know that radon is actually the first leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause in smokers. 
With November being Radon Action Month, we felt it important to address the lack of awareness around what radon is and its effects on one’s lung health. 
Radon is a colourless, tasteless, odourless, and lethal gas. You would never know it is present in your home unless you tested for it. The best time to test for radon in your home is from October to April, so right now is prime time for testing. Testing is relatively inexpensive and can be done by either you or a professional. Do-it-yourself radon test kits can be purchased over the phone or internet and are available at some home improvement retailers across Canada. 
There is no known level of safe exposure to radon; however, Health Canada recommends homeowners take action if radon levels are 200 Bq/m3 or above. Lung cancer takes the lives of more Canadians than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer combined. The risk of developing lung cancer depends on the amount and duration of radon exposure, as well as whether or not you smoke. Radon is much more likely to cause cancer in those who smoke or have a history of smoking than in life-long non-smokers. However, everyone is still at risk if you are exposed to radon. 
As third year nursing students, we were shocked to find out how much of an impact radon has on lung health as well as the prevalence of radon in Canada. Despite practical experience on Kelowna General Hospital’s cancer ward as well as having learned about cancer and various carcinogens in our nursing program, we have yet to discuss radon. 

As future health care providers, it is astonishing that this is the case for us. It is only through our research in association with the Canadian Cancer Society that we have come to recognize the importance of radon awareness. We can only imagine the lack of knowledge present in the general population despite having information available.  As members of the community, we believe it is everyone’s responsibility to help spread the word and implement testing in their homes. 

We realize it is impossible to expect people to take any action to protect themselves against the harmful effects of radon if they don’t know what it is or the importance of it. As students we are working to raise awareness of radon in the Interior and Kootenay regions, two areas with high radon potential.

It is essential that this information be shared and that the public take it upon themselves to further their knowledge and understanding of radon. Radon affects everyone, and is something we can avoid. 

Please, protect your loved ones from the harmful effects of radon by testing your home and ensuring you also do your part in raising awareness. To learn more, visit

Courtney Pankow and Jackie Girard,
Third Year Nursing Students,
University of British Columbia - Okanagan


Car and pedestrian safety

I am very concerned with the safety of my children and myself when walking them to and from school.  We have to cross a very busy, very wide intersection to get to and from school.  At least 2-3 times a week, we are almost run over by hasty drivers turning in front of us, driving directly behind us or not even stopping for us when we have the pedestrian signal that tells us it is safe to cross. Many of these are parents from the school! As a driver, I know how it can feel like I know I see the pedestrian and I am slowing down.  However, as a pedestrian, I do not know if you see us and are stopping unless you actually stop, so please do so behind the stop line.  It is not until you are fully stopped that I know you see us and will step in front of your vehicle with my precious children. 

Also, for those who think it is safe to dart directly in front of or behind us while we are crossing, please consider that I have children, and that while I try my best to hang on to them, they sometimes wiggle free and run ahead.  They have run back behind us to pick up an interesting rock they saw; we have lost hats, stuffed animals and shoes; and my children and I have almost been run over trying to retrieve them.  We have even almost been hit when someone started sneaking into the intersection while waiting for us to cross - blocking oncoming traffic - and my child tripped and fell and hurt himself pretty badly.  I had to scoop up one child, run ahead to the injured child and run with both to the other side to avoid being hit because this person could not just wait a few more seconds and in doing so, put us all in danger. 

Please, please, please; I beg you, for the safety of our children, have some patience and just wait until we are all safely across the street before driving over the crosswalk we are using.  Even if you don’t hit us, someone else might, and we could end up needing your help.  You just never know. 

Amanda Martin
Concerned Parent

Kelowna a good place after all

I recently discontinued a safety deposit box and cleared out a lot of  paperwork, mostly now useless.  A few weeks later I got a call from my bank asking me to come down and pick up "an envelope". Upon retrieval I was stunned to see it was an old looking envelope labelled with an Edmonton church  name but no address ... with my social insurance card and original birth certificate inside.  They must have fallen out from the bundle of papers I was carrying when I left the bank.  There must be some very honest people wandering around here, anyone could have made a complete identity out of that.  Kind of restores one's faith in the human race. 

Whoever you are, thank you.

Trish Boileau


Lockup not up to snuff

I read with great dismay the complaints levelled at our city lockup by Connie Sargent, a Victoria woman who was lodged there recently for apparently breaching conditions from a previous fraud conviction. Apparently we did not provide a toothbrush & the cleaning was not up to her liking.

Her lawyer thinks we need to make improvements (perhaps some nice bathrobes and some aromatherapy?). You really have to wonder what could possibly have happened to these people to distort their view of the world so far. It's a jail cell - you want a spa experience? get a job, save some $$ & go to Sparkling Hills.

Jeff McGeorge

Surviving nurse gives thanks

Dear Editor, 

A few weeks ago I was involved in a car accident that took the life of one of my very closest friends Erin, and completely changed my life. 

I would like to thank everyone who who gave not only money, but who also gave their prayers and best wishes for me through this time.

This has been the most difficult time of my life and to have an entire community come together, stand behind me and support me the way you all have, has made me stronger than I ever could have been on my own.

So many of you didn't know Erin or myself and yet you still wanted to give, you still wanted to help in any way you could and that is such an amazing thing to be part of.

No words that I say could ever be enough or could ever express the level of gratitude I feel. The generosity you have all shown will never be forgotten.

You have helped me make it this far, and my daughter and I thank you as much as we can possibly can.

You have given me a chance to make it through this and without all of your support, in all of it's forms, I wouldn't be here. I hope you all know how absolutely blessed and thankful you've made me feel.

Thank you so much,

~Lindsey Hauck 

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