across Canada deluged the desks of the Premier and the Minister of Health.
Under incredible public pressure, Premier Hepburn and Health Minister Kirby publicly an- nounced that Caisse could continue her work, and would not be charged under the new Kirby law. She consented.
The war continued. On one side were the pro- tests of the public; on the other side, a driving concern to shut down Caisse’s clinic. The next year (August 1938) the government set up a commis- sion of six physicians, with “expertise” in the treat- ment of cancer, to investigate her claimed cancer cures.
All this was somewhat ironic, since the for- mula had been curing cancer in Canada longer than there had been a Canada.
Drs. W.C. Wallace and T.H. Callahan were sent to Bracebridge to interview her patients, and re- ceived glowing reports.
Three members of Parliament (Duckworth, Armstrong, and Summerville) strongly urged en- actment of a bill to permit Caisse to treat cancer.
Caisse brought not 10, 20, or even 30 Essiac- treated patients—but 380 of them! They all claimed to have been cured, and there was medi- cal documentation to support it. The commission heard 49 of them
Here are just two of those 49 testimonies: “After treatment by Nurse Caisse, I’m working everyday. I milk five cows, night and morning. I’m right off the farm and have boarders and all in the house, and I have to do it all myself. I owe my life to Miss Caisse and I hope you will do something for her.”—Elizabeth Stewart, op. cit., 28. “My cancer had spread after radium treatments until my arm had swelled to double its size, and turned black. I went down from 150 pounds to 90 pounds, and then entered St. Michael’s to have my arm amputated, but changed my mind on the eve of the operation and went to Bracebridge instead. After four months on the Essiac treatment my arm has returned to normal, and I have gained 60 pounds.”—Annie Bona , ibid. After hearing the 49 testimonies, the commit- tee admitted that Essiac may have helped some of them. But most of the time, the commission con- cluded her patients either did not know what they were talking about, never had cancer (had earlier been misdiagnosed), or that some standard method had really remitted the cancer.
In spite of all this evidence, the commission rejected the request for permission to give Essiac to cancer patients. In its official December 1939 report, the commission declared that, of all the
testimonies and piles of records submitted, where diagnosis had been by biopsy, there had been only one recovery by Essiac. For example, Mrs. Annie Bonar (quoted above) was said to have been cured by the earlier radium treatments, not by a tea made from plants! “It is my opinion that the hearing of my case before the Cancer Commission was one of the great- est farces ever perpetrated in the history of man. Over 380 patients came to be heard and the Com- mission limited the hearing to 49 patients. Then in their report they stated that I had only taken 49 patients to be heard, that X-ray reports were not acceptable as a diagnosis, and that the 49 doctors had made wrong or mistaken diagnoses. It is a sad state of affairs if doctors can diagnose an affliction as ‘cancer’ and send patients home with a few months at most to live, if they are not sure.”—Rene Caisse, op. cit., 31.
For several years she continued giving the treat- ments, always without charge, and never knowing when she would be arrested. In 1942, close to a nervous breakdown, she closed down the clinic. In 1948, when her husband died, she returned to Bracebridge, but little is known of her activities until 1959. It was widely believed that she was still treating patients, and the government dared not arrest her.
Throughout the years when she was treating people, when asked about her income she would laugh, “I never had $100 I could call my own!” She would accept fruits, vegetables, eggs, or what- ever the people would bring her in payment for her help. She never turned away anyone who had no money.
When asked why she kept the formula secret, she replied that as long as the government and the medical groups did not have it, they could not forbid others to use it. She refused to reveal the formula to the Canadian Government, the Memo- rial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, or the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Mary- land—just to name a few.
She said she would not tell them the formula until they publicly admitted that it could cure can- cer. This they refused to do. So the stalemate con- tinued on down to the time of her death.
“I want to know that suffering humanity will ben- efit by it. When I can be given that assurance, I am willing to disclose my [herbal] formula, but I have got to know that it is going to get to suffering hu- manity.”—Rene Caisse, op. cit., 30.
There are three individuals who made it pos- sible for people today to have Essiac. The first was