The West End Cultural Centre strongly encourages all of our patrons to continue wearing facemasks in our venue. Touring artists are disproportionately affected by COVID-related health issues, and we want to give them every opportunity to continue to perform and tour. By wearing your mask in the venue, you’re helping keep our artists healthy so that they don’t need to cancel shows and tours.
Local musician and nurse Emma Cloney was diagnosed with a painful and disabling genetic condition called Lipedema in 2021. Her condition worsened so aggressively that she has to step away from her touring with The New Customs, and go on disability leave from her nursing work. Lipedema left Emma unable to walk or stand without pain and her life as she knew it was slipping away.
While there is no cure for lipedema there is surgery that can help removed diseased tissue to reduce pain and restore mobility. This specialized surgery is not available in Canada. Emma requires 7 surgeries to restore wellness and fully return her to her life as a musician, nurse, mother, partner and friend. In January 2022 Manitoba health approved Emma’s full course of treatment and sent her to the USA for 3 of her 7 surgeries. Suddenly without valid reason Manitoba Health changed their minds about providing Emma with life changing medically necessary surgeries. Manitoba Health now refuses to cover the costs of Emma’s surgery and instead the province invites her to “fund the treatment yourself”.
Each surgery comes at the unimaginable expense of $18,000 per treatment. Simply an impossible burden for Emma and her family as she is now living on disability due to her illness.
The legal process to fight this unjust decision from Manitoba Health has been lengthy and delayed several times in the meantime Emma must continue her treatments to manage her aggressive condition or risk permanent disability.
When government fails community prevails and so the musical community in Winnipeg and the WECC have stepped up to support Emma to help her fund her surgery.
Since 2011, Emma Cloney has brought us the “Prairie Kitchen Party” and countless performances with her duo The New Customs. Now is our chance to help Emma when she needs it most.