Volunteers certainly make a difference through their kindness and generosity, as was made clear during their hard work’s recognition during National Volunteer Week that ran last week, between April 15 to 21.
This event recognized the more than 20,000 Canadian Cancer Society volunteers in B.C. and the Yukon, including the likes of Jessica Harrington of Prince George.
Jessica has been volunteering up to 25 hours a month for just over a year, having offered her hand in clerical support, cancer prevention and advocacy work, in addition to training other volunteers on how to design Powerpoint presentations that help educate the public about cancer.
“I was raised in a family that always placed a high value on volunteer work. And I lost my Nana to cancer, which is a big part of why I volunteer for the society,” says Harrington.
Although many cancer patients both valued and were satisfied with overall cancer care, they also noted that emotional support and education are still areas for improvement.
“This is where the compassion and skills of volunteers like Jessica make such a huge difference in their communities,” Kate Smallwood, northern region manager of the Society’s B.C. and Yukon division, said.
One place in particular where these volunteers excel is in The Canadian Cancer Society’s CancerConnection, a free telephone support system wherein cancer victims and caregivers can discuss their feelings and trials related to their close relationship with the disease. These volunteer operators have all experienced cancer in some way themselves, and are valued for their general understanding of the disease and the feelings of those affected by it.
CancerConnection was created in Ontario in 1995, and is now a national program.
The Canadian Cancer Society itself was founded in 1938, with a mission of eradicating cancer and enhancing the quality of life of those living with the disease.
During the National Volunteer Week fair on April 20, information booths showcasing volunteer opportunities and the services of volunteers themselves were displayed, in addition to a treasure hunt in partnership with the Pine Centre Mall merchants taking place.
For information on how to help, go to www.cancer.ca, selecting “British Columbia/Yukon” and then “How you can help.” Opportunities include the likes of door to door canvassers, organizational support, prevention, advocacy, supporting the victims themselves on the phone for organizations such as CancerConnection.
For more information on CancerConnection phone 1 888 939 3333.