For the record, Janice Chance died on June 8, 2020.
She had been expected to die a number of times over the course of her life, especially in the fall of 2019. She suffered from a form of blood cancer called Myelodysplastic Syndrome. It resulted from the massive chemotherapy she received in the mid-1990's for breast cancer. Janice survived the breast cancer despite doctors estimating her chances at no more than 20%. However, the chemo all but destroyed her bone marrow over the next 24 years. Thanks to the wonderful staff and volunteers of Cancer Care at Victoria Hospital and elsewhere, Janice pressed on, undergoing a more targeted form of chemo, plus blood transfusions, but the long-term outlook remained rather grim.
In early October of 2019 I finally had to call paramedics to take her to hospital after a severe blood infection made the situation considerably worse. Rather quickly it was projected that Janice had “no more than four weeks to live”. It was likely she would not see Christmas, let alone the first grandchild who was expected to be born in Toronto in early March. She was moved to Palliative care at Riverview, in the neighborhood which had been home to her family for decades. The standing orders were to provide 'comfort care' and pain relief, nothing heroic. Suddenly in November it was decided to try one more blood transfusion. Lo and behold it turned out to be an absolute game changer as all of Janice's blood numbers rose dramatically. Might it have been a 'remission' of some sort? Probably not but by mid-January it became apparent that Janice would soon no longer qualify for the level of magnificent end of life care that Riverview provided. She was living, not dying!
By February 11th she was out of her hospital bed and we were headed home to our lovely apartment at Hampton House on Wellington Crescent. In the halls of Riverview and elsewhere her case came to be known as the Janice Miracle.
How fortunate it was that she was able to come home before all hospital visiting was shut down by Covid-19. What a strange year this has been.
The 'miracle' lasted almost six months and we cherished every hour of every single day. Part of the unexpected bonus for Janice was the birth of the beautiful granddaughter Penelope in Toronto on March 5th. In the weeks that followed she enjoyed many hours of wonderful face time, and she was absolutely thrilled to be a grandma.
The wonderful love story of Janice and Roger began in December of 2011 as I was preparing to return to Winnipeg. I moved into Hampton House the following May after ending a broadcasting career in Saskatchewan. What followed were eight glorious years together that can only be described as 'priceless'. I am so very glad we didn't miss them. We were married on a beautiful Saturday in August of 2015.
Janice Smith was born in Lestock Saskatchewan on February 4th. Then came many rewarding years growing up in Regina. She graduated from Central Collegiate, and then trained as a teacher before moving to Winnipeg in 1968 to take a job with the Winnipeg School Division. She taught grade one at several local schools, including Grosvenor, Principal Sparling, Wellington and two stops at Mulvey. She married Murray Chance in 1982 and they were proud parents of two boys, Spencer and Taylor, as well as Murray's son Jeff.
Murray died in 1989. Janice was also predeceased by her parents Eldridge and Marie Smith and many other extended family members.
In addition to Spencer, Taylor and granddaughter Penelope, Janice is survived by her loving brother George in Regina, plus my daughter Katie and her family in Winnipeg.
After retiring from teaching, Janice also had some rewarding years doing furniture sales and home staging. She also enjoyed volunteering for a number of organizations, especially the Friends of Winnipeg's Millennium Library.
I loved and admired Janice for many reasons. In particular I truly marveled at what a splendid friend she was. We shall all her miss her more than anyone can possibly imagine.
According to Janice's wishes, there will be no funeral service.
Donations can be made in her memory to the Riverview Foundation