My phone rang on Saturday at 9:55 a.m. It was my close friend calling. I looked at my cell phone and mumbled a not-so-nice word to myself. I had seen her a week earlier at her grandmother’s wake, when she also told me that her younger sister had found a lump on her breast a day earlier. I answered the call. All she said was: “Caroline.” Nothing else.
Silence at the other end. I knew what this meant. Not good news. After a few deep breaths, she added: “It’s breast cancer. Advanced stage 2, going on 3.” Her sister is 35 years young.
We chatted for a while. Then, I told her about the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre. It’s a gem of a community-based group in Beaurepaire Village in Beaconsfield. It helps West Islanders who are experiencing cancer between diagnosis and one year post-treatment. More specifically, they offer free programs and services to address the emotional, psychological, social and spiritual needs of those living with cancer. They also offer a program for caregivers. www.wicwc.org I suggested that she call them, for her sister and for herself, when she would be ready. She emailed me back on Sunday to tell me that she had spoken to her sister about the centre and that she is interested. I contacted the centre and asked what the procedures were to get help. It was simple: “Just call us and we would be honoured to help.”
It was a tough day for my friend and her family. But there was a sliver of light, just knowing that there was help and support on the road that lies ahead. And that this help is available right here, close to home.
I will leave you with a quote I saw on the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre’s website. It definitely embodies what my friend’s sister will be going through in the coming months.
“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honour.” Aristotle
Have you been touched by cancer? What has helped you the most to get through it? Share your comments by adding a comment below.
The West Island Cancer Wellness Centre is one of the 36 community groups that West Island Community Shares supports. Thanks to donations from the public, Community Shares has been a stable source of recurrent funding to local groups such as the Cancer Wellness Centre so they can continue to provide valuable help in time of need. www.communityshares.ca