The following taken out of the Bracebridge Examiner after her death says it all:
died in South Muskoka Memorial Hosp. on December 26th, 1978. She suffered a broken leg in a fall at her Hiram St. home five weeks ago, from which she never recovered.
When she died, Rene Caisse was , and had reached the summit of her professional career as the developer of "Essies tea", an herb tea said by many to be a positive benefit in the treatment of cancer.
Although married briefly to Charles McGaughey, a North Bay lawyer, one of many who benefited from "Essies tea", Nurse Rene Caisse used her maiden name most of her life. René was one of eight girls in a family of 11 children and was the third daughter born to Joseph and Friselde Caisse.
The Rene Caisse family moved to Bracebridge from Peterborough in the late 1800's before there was even a railway into the Muskoka district. Joseph, a tobacconist, died at 60, but Friselde, a seamstress and milliner, lived until she was 90.
Indeed, Friselde Caisse received treatment in her 72nd year, after it was found she had cancer of the liver. Dr. McGibbon, who always said he was opposed to her work, challenged her to do something about her mother's condition. After 10 days of treatment, Friselde began to recover and, in fact, lived another 18 years.
René's entire life was dedicated to the nursing profession and it was during the early years of her career that she came upon the cancer treatment which was to dominate the rest of her life. It was in Haileybury Hospital, Ontario, that Rene first learned of the herbal tea which she believed could cure cancer. An elderly woman, who had cured herself of breast cancer years earlier, gave René the recipe for an herbal remedy used by the Indians.
Over the years which followed, René refined the recipe, experimented with mice and subsequently used the finished product to treat people suffering from cancer.
Hundreds received "Essies tea" at Nurse Caisse's Bracebridge clinic and in the late 1930's, there was a lot of public pressure to have it recognized by the medical profession as a cancer cure.
The provincial government's Cancer Commission formed in 1938. In 1939 it released a report recognizing only limited benefits from “Essies tea” in the treatment of cancer. The Commission refused to acknowledge it as a cancer cure and demanded to know the ingredients before allowing the herbal tea to be tested further. Nurse Caisse refused to release her formula.
Throughout her long struggle with the Cancer Society and the medical profession in general, Nurse Caisse insisted that if she were to hand over the formula to the medical establishment, her cancer treatment would be shelved forever.
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