The Rainmaker part of a story to die for


by admin on February 2, 2011

Sen. Keith Davey died last month and it proved to be a great occasion for the media to dwell on what a political figure The Rainmaker had been.

The senator was the guru to whom federal Liberals went for advice back in the mid-1960s, because he was invariably able to cause events to occur as he predicted they would.

Prime ministers Lester Pearson and, before him, Louis St-Laurent relied on him for guidance. So, back then, if you could get the ear and approval of The Rainmaker, you could almost take your proposal to the bank.

I was one of those ear-seekers way back then. I was on staff of the Ottawa Journal when a story came into the newsroom and the editor of the day told me it was probably a crackpot scheme involving a new cure for cancer but to check it out.

I was on the story of my life. It went on for months. It involved a father-and-son Yugoslavia-born and federal government-employed chemical engineers. They had a simple proposal that nobody in government (or medical circles) would listen to.

It went something like this: “I have created an anti-cancer hormone that will cure any cancer existing. I have developed this ACH (anti-cancer hormone) and I ask to be allowed to test it on a human cancer victim, but I will not tell you how it works or how it is made until after this human test.”

That was the position of Dr. V. I. Mirkovitch and his son, Dr. Victor A. Mirkovitch. No test. No data. They found resistance at every level. In desperation, they turned to the media. The Journal decided to follow up this bizarre story.

The Ottawa Citizen and other big city papers wouldn’t touch it. I was the one reporter who would follow the Mirkovitches as they and a growing legion of desperate cancer family victims fought to get a human test underway.

For me, it began a series of front-page stories, detailing how the Mirkovitches were gathering strength via volunteer campaigners but were unable to get the medical profession to provide a doctor who would break ranks and administer the unknown hormone. It also called for a lot of secret meeting between myself and the Mirkovitches and also meetings with medical and governmental authorities.

It led to my one and only meeting with The Rainmaker. This took place in a ground-floor office in the East Block around 7 p.m. For an hour I pleaded the case for the government to relent and let a test on a human go ahead, stressing how the Mirkovitches were unbending about revealing the chemical makeup of ACH. It was in vain. Davey said he would look into the matter and get back to me. He never did.

Finally the Mirkovitches and their supporters found a doctor in Montreal who agreed to administer the ACH. Then they found an eight-year-old boy, dying from leukemia, whose parents agreed to let the doctor administer it – even if nobody but the family knew what was in the ACH.

And that was the end of my story. I wasn’t part of the Montreal experiment. The boy died; the Mirkovitches went off to Mexico.

ACH was never heard from again. And I was off the story of my life.

But I did meet The Rainmaker. He was seldom wrong, and I guess he proved it one more time in rejecting my appeal.

But how I wish it had turned out differently.