Haiti quake survivor gets free cancer treatment

October 15, 2010 2:48:45 PM PDT
Nine months after the devastating Haiti earthquake, a woman who was pulled from the rubble is in New York.

She was rescued from her home, but learned soon after that she had a lump in her breast. Now, she's receiving life-saving treatment - for free.

"I'm feeling well, thank God," Oceanie Ridore said.

Ridore spoke to Eyewitness News reporter Stacey Sager at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, where her doctors finished her lumpectomy. And the news is good.

"So today we did the removal of the cancer and checked to see whether there was any spread," Dr. Patrick Borgen said. "Happily, the preliminary shows no spread."

Doctors say the 67-year-old has stage 2 breast cancer, first found by relief doctors in Haiti after the devastating earthquake that nearly took Oceanie's life.

"I was in my house, and suddenly the top of the house fell down," she said. "And then I started running."

But ironically, in the months that followed, she would learn about the illness that might have doomed her, in a country whose infrastructure is still so broken.

"I thought I was gonna die," she said.

"And so we offered, Maimonides offered our services free," Dr. Borgen said.

And in Brooklyn, a world away from Haiti, Maimonides is now offering her free medications, free radiation treatment and an apartment until she is well.

After her recovery and treatment in New York, Oceanie will still have to cope with the recovery in Haiti. Eight members of her family are still living in just a basement, of what was her home.

Still, she has nothing but gratitude.

"It's a great hospital," she said.

"All of our lives have been brightened by Ms. Ridore," Dr. Borgen said. "We feel very privileged to take care of her."

Oceanie, now twice a survivor, as well as a mother of seven and a grandmother, has every reason to live.