The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation | UHN

A Father's Battle With Breast Cancer

01/05/2017  |  Guest Bloggers

Posted by: Orlando Ali, Jr.

Orlando Ali, Sr., and Orlando Ali, Jr.

Orlando Ali, Sr., (left) and his son, Orlando Ali, Jr., (right) want to give back to The Princess Margaret.

Almost three years ago, my father, Orlando Ali, Sr., got news everyone dreads: he had cancer. 

Now, this wasn't a huge surprise because Orlando comes from a family with a history of cancer. What was surprising was the type of cancer.

A few months before his diagnosis, my father felt a pea-sized lump on his chest. Since men don't typically get diagnosed with breast cancer, he didn't think anything of it. A few months passed and what he first assumed was a cyst was not going away, so he decided to see a doctor.

Challenges and Compassion 

Orlando Ali, Sr. & Orlando Ali, Jr.The doctor confirmed his suspicions. And Orlando learned that although breast cancer in men is rare, it does occur. Coincidently, my father's sister was just diagnosed with the exact same type of cancer a year earlier.
 
Orlando considers the months that followed to be the most difficult of his life due to the chemotherapy treatment he underwent and its side effects. But it was also a period where he received profound support from family and friends. Their compassion and care gave him the strength he needed to get through his treatments. 

'Remarkable' Support

Support also came through the fantastic work of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, which gave him all the information he needed, the life-saving medical procedures and companionship.

"The treatment I received from the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre was remarkable," my father says. "They were friendly, extremely knowledgeable and helped me along the entire process. My specialist, Dr. McCready was as wonderful a doctor as I could have ever hoped for to guide me through this process."

Financial Pressures

Orlando Ali, Sr., and Orlando Ali, Jr.On top of the emotional and physical pain he went through, however, there were also financial and professional burdens. 

My father is a successful entrepreneur who manages his own financial centre in Toronto's west end. Ask anyone who has ever gone through chemotherapy and they will tell you how difficult it is to work during this time – let alone run your own business. 

With a career in the insurance industry, Orlando is passionate about the importance of financial protection through insurance, which explains his foresight in purchasing a critical illness insurance policy. The policy paid him a tax-free lump sum that covered his additional expenses giving him peace of mind while he focused on getting better.

"I had enough money for the bills with some left over, and it really came at a time when I needed it the most. Not everyone is so lucky," my father says.

Commitment to The Princess Margaret

Having seen the pain and suffering my father experienced during a difficult health crisis, I have become passionate about the importance of critical illness insurance. Yes, Orlando Ali, Sr., is my father, but he is also my business partner, and I decided to start a sponsorship initiative with The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

Our financial centre is providing an initial donation of $1,000 to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and we will donate $20 for every critical illness insurance policy sold through our centre from April 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017. It’s essential that people understand that a critical illness can happen to anyone. Today's medicine does a wonderful job in helping us survive these illnesses, but it is important for survivors to appreciate the financial impact that illness can bring, as well.

Follow this link to learn more about Orlando's story
and the Alis' sponsorship initiative.