82-yr-old cancer survivor forced to reveal prosthesis at airport

Digital Journal

An 82-year-old lady was returning home to British Columbia after a visit with her family. At Calgary International Airport she said she was humiliated and embarrassed by airport security.

Elizabeth Strecker, 82, was asked at the Calgary airport if she was carrying any liquids or gels to which she replied, “No.” She never even thought of the gel prosthesis that she wears since losing a breast to cancer.

When a pin in her leg was picked up by a metal detector she was told to go through a body scanner and was ordered to stand with her legs in a wide stance, with her arms up.

She informed the screeners she couldn’t raise her one arm to which they insisted that she do so. When she pulled her left arm up with her right arm she was told that wasn’t allowed. The Vancouver Sun reports Strecker said, “I definitely didn’t want the world to know I had cancer and a mastectomy. It’s embarrassing, no matter what age you are. She added, “There were two involved, a male that asked me questions and a female that actually chuckled when I said I can’t lift my arm. And I really can’t because of the mastectomy.”

Since she was standing in an awkward position she lost her balance and stumbled.

Abbynews.com reports Strecker said, “I am 82. My balance is maybe not like it used to be. And then they look at you like you’re drunk.”

After the body scanner revealed the prosthesis CTV Calgary reports Strecker said, “I heard someone say ‘whatever she said isn’t true.'”

She then had a thorough pat-down. She said, “Then she started to touch me everywhere.”

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has called Strecker’s house twice when she wasn’t home and left a message. In the message they apologized and said they will investigate the incident.

The Vancouver Sun reports Strecker said, “I think (the agent) did mean it. I certainly did not look for publicity like that, definitely not, but now that it is across the country, I hope something is going to be done about airport security and screeners.”

Mathieu Larocque, a spokesman for CATSA said it should take less than a month to complete the investigation. If the results are made public will be up to Strecker as reports are kept private.

The spokeswoman for the Calgary airport, Jodey Moseley, wants to be informed about the results of the investigation. If there needs to be any changes it would have to be up to CATSA as they oversee airport security screening.

Larocque said “For our part, we’re very concerned about (Strecker’s) experience.We’ve spoken to CATSA and want them to let us know how their investigation is going.”

The Toronto Sun reports Strecker said, “They really can make an old person feel crummy.”

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