Shane Simpson thanks his surgeons for helping him become cancer-free

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      The NDP MLA for Vancouver-Hastings, Shane Simpson, delivered his first speech in the legislature yesterday after surviving colon cancer.

      He expressed thanks to surgeons at Vancouver General Hospital who operated on him last summer and to the B.C. Cancer Agency for its support.

      "It was obviously a bit of a life-changing event, and I have nothing but the greatest admiration for our health system and for the remarkable care that I got," Simpson told fellow MLAs, according to a Hansard transcript. "I'm very pleased at how it's turned out. I feel very fortunate when my oncologist says: 'Yes, you can say you're cancer-free.' "

      He also expressed appreciation to hundreds of people who sent prayers and best wishes during his ordeal. In addition, he thanked MLAs on both sides of the legislature for their support.

      "I know our colleague, the minister of agriculture [Pat Pimm,] is facing that same challenge today around colon cancer," Simpson said. "I understand he's had his surgery and he's in recovery now. I'm sure that we would all say that there are 84 people sitting in this place who are all cheering for him to have a full recovery and to be back here healthy and hearty, as soon as possible."