Striving for justice against cancer


By Jolene Perron

Cancer does not discriminate, a statement which Denise Hunt Sheills and her family know all too well.

Bill Sheills was a husband to Denise Hunt-Sheills and a father of five young girls, the oldest being 12 and the youngest being 6. He had an unfortunate demise of melanoma skin cancer on May 5.

“He was supposed to be the one to beat it,” said Hunt-Sheills, “we never thought he was going to die.”

Sheills was diagnosed with stage four metastatic melanoma cancer in late December of 2011. Metastatic melanoma is a cancer which develops in the skin cells that make our skin colour, called melanocytes.

The stage in which the cancer is declared describes the size, spread and aggressiveness of the cancer. Sheills was in stage four explaining that the melanoma had spread beyond a localized area to other soft tissue organs.


Bill Sheills with his wife Dennis Hunt-Sheills and his five daughters. Bill succumbed to melanoma skin cancer on May 5.

“He was funny, always cracking jokes,” said Hunt-Sheills, “He built ice rinks for the girls, played baseball. He was the best father.”

Sheills began experimental treatment in London in February.   The first month was “disgustingly horrible,” according to Hunt-Sheills. They had him on such a high dosage that he could barely walk from all the joint pain but he had to stay that way as they were only going to see the London doctor once a month.

During the second month, Sheills was dropped to a lower dose. However, after two months the treatment had stopped working.

He was unable to work, and was eventually unable to fight the melanoma any longer. He passed away after a short but tough battle.

“The girls aren‘t really getting it,” said Hunt-Sheills, “I think it will set in once we’re back to normal, they keep telling me not to cry, that daddy wouldn’t want me to cry.”

Hunt-Sheills has taken a leave of absence from work to help look after their five daughters. She feels that it will be better for the girls to have her there because this is “just not fair.”

To help the costs the family will have, they are going forward with their pasta fundraiser at the Verdi Club on Saturday, June 2, regardless of their unfortunate loss. The doors will open at 5:00pm and dinner will be served at 6:30pm. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $12 for children ages 5-10. Tickets can be ordered by e-mailing or by contacting Tina DeCarlo at 519 736 4271, Linda Hunt at 519 736 6379 or Heather Dowhaniuk at 519 257 9223.

“Anything is appreciated,” said Hunt- Sheills, “it wasn’t supposed to work like that – I was supposed to take care of him until he was better.”

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