Thursday, April 14, 2016
CCS Cancer Connection
Peer support vital for Chilliwack man who beat the cancer odds
Sheila Dong, CCA
his National Volunteer Week, the Canadian Cancer Society is thanking the many caring and compassionate volunteers in the Fraser Valley who have dedicated their time to the Society’s mission and is asking others to join the fight.
Across British Columbia and the Yukon, just fewer than 15,000 people lend their hands and hearts to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer for the Society.
According to Statistics Canada’s 2013 General Social Survey, at some point in their lives, about six in ten Canadians (59%) aged 15 years and older, or 17 million Canadians, have volunteered their time for a charitable or non-profit organization or group. In BC and the Yukon, about half of the population does volunteer work. According to this survey, 45% of those who are not volunteers say it is because nobody has ever asked them.
“We truly appreciate the many passionate and committed volunteers helping us,” says Mia Gardiner, Manager, Volunteer and Community Engagement, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon. “It is volunteers that provide peer support, enable camp programs for kids facing cancer, bring their enthusiasm to fundraising efforts and make the successes of this organization possible. Volunteers are the backbone of what we do and Canadians benefit from their efforts every day.”
One program offered by the Society that relies on volunteers is CancerConnection, a telephone-based, peer support program that connects people living with cancer with trained volunteers who listen, provide hope, offer encouragement and share ideas for coping – all from their unique perspective as someone who has been there. The volunteers in this program are essential as they are cancer survivors or caregivers who want to give the gift of support to others going through cancer. CancerConnection is always looking for volunteers who fit the criteria.
“CancerConnection volunteers have a very specialized role and require more extensive screening and training so it can be a challenge to find the right person,” says Gardiner. “In general, we are looking for people who are at least one year past their own cancer experience with good listening skills. We encourage people who have experienced cancer and who want to help others, to contact us and find out more.”
More than 100,000 people across Canada have used this program to connect, including Chilliwack’s Don Bates. “I found out about CancerConnection at Chilliwack General Hospital in 2010. I was given an informational packet and the program flyer was included. I phoned, got set up with two men who helped me through the time I was in treatment,” says Bates. “After I was made aware of CancerConnection and took advantage, I realized the importance of the program and have been volunteering for five years helping other men through the same experience I had.”
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. Building on our progress, we are working with Canadians to change cancer forever. For more information, visit cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934). Make your gift today at cancer.ca.
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