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Community showing its support to BIA executive director facing cancer

Executive Director Roni Summers Wickens at the BIA Red Carpet Gala.

The news has gone up one side of Picton’s Main Street and down the other and recipients of the information that the town’s Business Improvement Association executive director is once again fighting cancer, is bringing anger and sadness, but also an outpouring of hope, love and support from the Prince Edward County community and beyond.

Roni Summers Wickens first fought breast cancer in 2006. After a bilateral mastectomy, surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, she was given the “all-clear”, only to learn earlier this month the cancer has metastasized to her lungs and bones, and her prognosis is not encouraging.

The community has been sharing words of encouragement, support and making donations to assist the family with the expenses of this journey and to help the Summers Wickens children continue their education.

“I was saddened to hear of the horrible news that my boss and dear friend was admitted to the ICU at Kingston General after being diagnosed with cancer – a fight she thought she had won five years ago,” said Lyndsay Richmond, the BIA’s director of member services. “I asked if there was anything I could do and she wanted to make sure her children are financially supported to finish their educations. With the health care bills she is now faced with, and time that she and her husband Wayne will be away from work, she is worried about finances.”

Richmond has started a fund in Summers Wickens name “to help her out and offer her some peace.”
Contributions can be made through PayPal, a secure way to send money from your credit card or bank account. Paypal ID: Follow the link below, or cut and paste it into your brower. “Please, feel free to share this link with friends and family if cancer has touched your life.”

“It is terminal,” writes her sister Michelle Henderson, on the Caring Bridge website, created to share health news, sign a guestbook, show and receive support.  “And while she has vowed to fight to the finish, it is a fight that requires a tremendous amount of energy and resources. You can join the Caring Bridge site by clicking here:

“Roni has dedicated her entire career to working for not-for-profit agencies (at not-for-profit wages) and as a contract worker without any benefits. Although her husband, Wayne, works two jobs to support them, their family’s finances have been further depleted over the past six years as she has fought her ongoing battles against this disease. ”

Richmond says Summers Wickens is well known for her service to the Quinte community.
“She has touched the lives of thousands who will never know it, having established community service programs including The Good Baby Box, community gardens, and more.
“As a community leader, Roni has served on countless boards of directors and committees including the founding board of the Belleville and Quinte West Community Health Centre and the South Hastings Access to Permanent Housing Committee, to name but a few local organizations. She also chaired the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition and The Social Planning Network of Ontario. Roni also served on the Ontario Business Improvement Association Board of Management. Indeed, it is her most recent work with the Picton BIA of which she is most proud, helping to create an aesthetic that is attractive to visitors, residents, and investors, alike.”

“It’s been a heck-uv-a ride, let me tell you,” Roni writes. “We thank everyone so very much for their many kindnesses shown us and are forever grateful for their ongoing support.”

Roni, well-known for for her upbeat, and cheerful attitude, has posted a few comments:

One, titled Weird Summers Wickens humour:
“I am in ICU having an echocardiogram. I am very sick and really don’t remember very much from the trauma of the past few days, but the man is busy working away as I reach over to turn over his name tag.
“He asks, ‘What are you doing?’
“I say: Well, I figure I ought to know your first and last name. After all, getting to second base generally involves dinner and a movie. The man was mortified.
Wayne announces: Uugh, I’m still in the room.”

And another post, titled: Another Opportunity for a lesson learned:
“It was AWFUL. My vision was blurred off and on throughout the day. I was so afraid…..this new diagnosis means what was only a back ache a few days ago could very well be a cardio embollism just waiting to explode. So back to my story: blurred vision off and on through out the day, dry eyes sometimes, followed by teary eyes. The clinicial pamphlet for the most recent toxic drug to enter my body cautions: CONTACT YOUR EMERGENCY MEDICAL PROVIDER RIGHT AWAY. Of course, I tell my nurse right away. Has the matastases spread to my brain I wonder tearfully?
“Turns out, I had my glasses on every time I was using the nebulizer – the mask that you put over your mouth and nose to send steam/ventilin to your lung, like when you come out of a hot shower.
“She promptly wiped the steam off with a soft cloth again and It was a MIRACLE – I COULD SEE!”

Until further notice, any Picton BIA office communication should be directed to chairman Robyn Molyneaux at 230 Main Street (Robyn’s Nest & Spaw) or by calling 613.476.6459.

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  1. Wilson says:

    Just discovered another way we can support Roni from the BIA in her battle with cancer

    We already miss you downtown, Roni.

  2. margaret watson says:

    So sad to hear this news. It seems that not a week goes by that we are not touched, in some way by this terrible disease.

  3. Lisa Baird says:

    Hi Roni,

    Remember scaring the crap out of each other swimming in our pools when JAWS first cam out? Pretend you are JAWS and scare the crap out of this cancer. I am praying for you and your family.


  4. Donna Hobson says:

    OMG – Roni – I had no idea you were going through this horrible fight – you are an amazing woman! Sending warm hugs to you and your family, with respect and affection.

  5. Michelle Summers Henderson says:

    This is a wonderful tribute, thank you. Roni holds a very dear place in the hearts of many people. She is as tremendous of a sister as she is a community leader. I am so very proud of her.

  6. TerryLee Davidson says:

    So sorry to hear this sad news, I dont know roni personally, but I am aware of the battle she is now facing, my daughter has stage 4 lung cancer, and just had a mass taken out of her head the end of Sept., I will be praying for her & her family. God Bless

  7. TerryLee Davidson says:

    So sorry to hear of this news, I dont personally know Roni, but I know of the battle she is now faced with….will be praying for her and her family.

  8. DEE says:

    So very sad !

  9. Wilson says:

    I’m sorry to learn Roni has to go through this. She has made a real difference to our downtown. Many blessing to her family.

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