Who Donna Dillman of the Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium
What Day 57 of hunger strike to protest uranium mine near Sharbot Lake
Where Queen's Park, Monday, December 3, 11:30 am
I've lost about 25 pounds and am starting to notice symptoms that come and go - blurred vision, pain in my kidneys, cramping in my feet. I'm drinking herbal teas, pure juices, water with maple syrup, cayenne pepper and lemon juice, something for the bloating.
When I decided to come to Toronto I was leaving behind a womb of support. But people have been stepping forward to help. Someone gave me money for a cab the other day.
To live out here in a tent would be great for the optics, but I'd go down too quickly. And I need to last long enough to see this through.
Health Minister George Smitherman shook my hand, not knowing it was me, after the Throne Speech on Thursday. I wanted to set up a meeting. He pulled his hand away as if he'd been burned. He said, "Absolutely not!" He sounded quite angry and said, "You should be taking care of yourself and eating." I said I would do that when we get a moratorium on uranium mining.
The biggest struggle has been the cold. Every once in a while I have to get up and push my wheelchair to build a little heat inside.
I find that people in Toronto don't look at me, and that's a whole new experience for me. But I don't think there's been a day where we haven't had some kind of development that moved us forward. A couple of days ago, David Suzuki wrote to the premier demanding a moratorium on mining in eastern Ontario.
But a lot of other people are concerned about long-term health effects of the hunger strike, and I'm getting huge pressure. I got a letter from [Green party head] Elizabeth May [who once went on a hunger strike herself] the other day saying I've got to stop this. But I'm not stopping. A much bigger part of me is concerned about what kind of legacy I leave my kids.
The Legislature recesses in mid-December and doesn't come back till February, and right now I can't get my head around that I'll still not be eating in February and be strong enough to be back here.
There's an assumption there that I'll quit before the premier budges, and that's not my plan. I reserve the right to make a new decision every day, but from where I sit right now, I'm going to take this to the wall.
Someone did ask me if I had a death wish. My response was no, I have a death willingness.