Story and photos by Hillary Di Menna
There are many types of Cancer: breast, colon, prostate, lung, cervical, brain, kidney, liver, head and neck… But the impact it has on human life can be unanimously summed up with one word: tragic. A Cancer diagnoses is often coupled with a sense of hopelessness and loneliness.
Hearth Place Cancer Support Centre has tried to ease the seclusion since 1997. On April 19, the centre announced it was awarded a three-year grant of $220,400 from the Trillium Foundation. The money will be used to hire four new part-time staff members for the facility that has 2,400 clients. The organization was grateful, as it is not government funded but based on donations and fundraising such as their new campaign looking for the “Hero of the Year.”
By Nov. 10 the organization hopes to raise $30,000 through this challenge. Local residents are encouraged to strive to make the most money and earn the title, to be announced at the Hearth Place Crystal Ball.
Executive director Andrea Shaw thanked all the volunteers’ hard work for providing a safe place where people can be supported. The appreciation was especially fitting, as the date was Volunteer Appreciation Day in Canada.
Mayor John Henry attended and spoke at the event, jokingly thanking the organization for getting him out of a serious financial meeting. Henry said the centre is changing the face of our community in downtown and the service meets the criteria of live, work, play and learn. When the speeches were done attendees were invited to celebrate the day’s good fortune with food and cake.
The house on 86 Colborne St. W. is a drop-in centre for those diagnosed and their families. The haven offers support programs emotionally, physically and mentally. There is not only peer support offered, but also a resource centre to help understand the disease.
Kid’s care packages are offered with age appropriate information for those whose parents have been diagnosed with Cancer, and bereavement packages for children whose parents’ lives had succumbed to the disease.