Tuesday, April 23, 2024
April 23, 2024

Island patient brings cheer to cancer clinic

Driftwood columnist Shilo Zylbergold played Santa on Wednesday when he went to the Victoria Cancer Clinic for his chemotherapy session. 

As a token of his appreciation for the clinic’s nurses and staff, he arrived at the facility dressed up like Santa carrying a sack full of toffees and chocolates. Zylbergold said his thoughtfulness was appreciated.

“So many of them came by to tell me how unique it was to have some lightness brought to a place where it is so easy to get lost in the darkness.” 

Zylbergold, who is known locally for his acting and musical talents with groups such as the Salt Spring Hysterical Society in the late 1980s and ‘90s, said he has “amazingly” never played Santa before, “although I was born with the perfect body for it.” 

He borrowed the suit from veteran island Santa Bob Twaites. 

Zylbergold has a rare form of cancer called Sezary syndrome, which is a type of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. 

“I was diagnosed in 2016 after several years of treatment for other possible causes,” he said. 

He has just finished his third round of infusions with a chemotherapy drug called romidepsin and has five more months of treatments needing to go to Victoria for three weeks out of every four.

“This is my second go-round with this particular drug,” he said. “I managed to get a full year of remission after the first time, so my fingers are double-crossed.”

Zylbergold writes a monthly humour column for the Driftwood called Nobody Asked Me But.

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