Strangers rally cash, support for mom fighting cancer and pushing for government support

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A woman batting Stage 4 cancer says the kindness — and hugs — of strangers are giving her the grit to continue her fight and push for government action.

"There are no words to express how I feel, but you can see by the smile on my face it's given me a wonderful outlook on how people pull together," says Diane Bishop.  

"Newfoundlanders are known for it and I'm actually really seeing it now."

She was diagnosed with Stage 4 triple negative breast cancer in April 2016 and since then it has spread to her pelvic bone and lung.

Bishop shared her story with CBC 's Here and Now on Wednesday, detailing her physical and financial struggle.

She said she cannot afford to quit her job as a franchisee of a Needs Convenience in Mount Pearl, since the CPP and disability benefits total about $1,100 a month — which barely covers her mortgage. Bishop also said she has endured surgery and three rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.

She said the response from the public in the last two days has left her "speechless."

"They are so touched by the story that they have hunted me out at my store and they have come in and they've given me small monetary gifts. They've snuck it into my hand, 'Here, this is to help you with your situation,'" she told CBC on Friday.

"I've hugged more strange men in the last couple of days," Bishop added, laughing.

Government needs 'to step up'

She said people are sharing their own stories, offering prayers via social media and emails which are coming in from right across the province — and Bishop vows not to let the momentum slow down. 

"So we need to keep this going," she said.

"The positive feedback that I am getting ... we need government to step up now and change the system."

Bishop questions how, as the sole breadwinner in her Mount Pearl home, she could quit her job and still support herself and two sons, who she has raised on her own — all while battling Stage 4 cancer. 

She is meeting with MHA Paul Lane next week and hopes to speak with her MP, Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan, too.

"Hopefully we can get the ball rolling to help people like myself, which would be wonderful because it will give me strength — and everyone else strength — to continue," Bishop said.

In the meantime, she will use the money from strangers to travel to Toronto for a clinical trial.

"I pretty much got it covered, from the kindness of people who want to help me. And they want to see me fight and they want to see me survive," she said.