My personal connection with cancer runs deep. I first stepped into the role of caregiver when my husband battled terminal prostate cancer in 2000. Then, 15 years later, I faced my own diagnosis of breast cancer. During a challenging period of radiation treatment, I discovered CanCare. I was really drawn to the opportunity to volunteer and give back in a meaningful way.

As a retired nurse, caring for others is part of my makeup. Becoming a CanCare volunteer felt like a natural extension of who I am. Through the training, I realized supporting other caregivers resonated most with me. My time with CanCare has profoundly impacted my personal cancer journey.

I am blessed to be in remission, and I recognize the fear that comes with a cancer diagnosis. This firsthand experience with my husband, then myself, has equipped me to empathize deeply with others facing the shocking news of cancer. It has given me a purpose to offer encouragement to others and try to make every day count. My own experience with cancer has hopefully made me a better volunteer.

Sometimes your clients become more than a client; they can become real friends. One of the most meaningful aspects of my volunteering with CanCare has been forming genuine connections with those I support. One client, ‘A.,’ and her husband, ‘S.,’ have become lifelong friends. I helped ‘A’ as she faced the fear of losing her husband who had stage four prostate cancer. They in turn, became my support when I was losing my second husband, and I was feeling helpless and so alone. They showed me the importance and the value of emotional support during stressful and uncertain times, even through long distances and over the phone.

To anyone thinking about volunteering with CanCare… Being a CanCare volunteer is challenging, but oh-so rewarding! You will get so much more in return than you give. You feel a purpose when you hear despair in a client's voice and can assure them that you are there for them. By listening and acknowledging what they are saying, you gradually build trust. You can help them change their fear, distress, and loneliness into Hope. This is the gift of cancer.

My words to pass along to anyone facing cancer… Take an active part in your treatment. Research and educate yourself. Don't be afraid to ask questions, write all your questions down for your doctor before your next appointment.