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Granting Terry’s wish

Terry Pettigrew doesn’t know how much longer he has to live, but he knows exactly where he wants to go before he dies.

Terry Pettigrew doesn’t know how much longer he has to live, but he knows exactly where he wants to go before he dies.

Pettigrew, 58, is a client of the Drop-In Centre and was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. He made a request through the centre’s Christmas WishList program for a Greyhound bus ticket to the Big Easy. He didn’t think there was any chance it would be granted.

“The thing is, I don’t know how long I’m going to be here, so I figured get a little travelling in and then whatever happens, happens,” Pettigrew said Tuesday.

“I’ve managed to make New Orleans twice, but I’ve never made Mardi Gras ... I don’t think it will happen, but you never know.”

Pettigrew has been coming to the Drop-In Centre for three years and became ill this summer.
He was diagnosed with Stage 3 squamous cancer throughout his body in August.

Former employee Jessica MacDonald said she became close with Pettigrew when she started working at the centre in 2009 and noticed he was ill this past summer.

“He’s a kind, charming, passionate gentleman and he’s probably one of my favourite people that I’ve ever met and I just felt like he deserved his wish,” she said. “I actually was the one that interviewed him for his wish, so it was one of those things where I knew I wanted to sponsor him because I knew what he was going through.”

MacDonald, who now works with the United Way, was able to raise the money through donations from co-workers and her own personal contributions and granted Terry’s wish yesterday.

In an emotional exchange yesterday, MacDonald told Pettigrew, “I was your sponsor,” as she handed over the bus pass.

“I never thought it would be,” Pettigrew said, tears streaming down his face.

Pettigrew will be leaving for a 15-day trip to New Orleans Feb. 12.

When asked what it means to him, he said, “Everything. It’s a new start to life.”

 
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