Patient donating blood at hospital

Your Role in Fighting Cancer

We have been shown time and time again that cancer doesn’t discriminate.

Anyone, regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic class could be diagnosed at any time: your favourite celebrities, your family and friends, or your favourite cashier could be one of the 617 Canadians diagnosed with cancer every day.

It’s easy to feel hopeless and scared, but with treatment constantly advancing and more awareness than ever, a cancer diagnosis is no longer the worst case scenario.

Dr. Stevens has personal experience with seeing how far treatment has advanced.

In June of 2015, she noticed a small lump on her nephew’s jaw while he and his family were visiting from out of town. The lump was so small that everyone thought she was making too big of a deal out of it, but she still insisted that he get it looked at when he returned home.

At Dr. Stevens’ insistence, her nephew met with an oral surgeon when he arrived home. The surgeon facilitated testing for what everyone thought was no big deal. It turns out that the lump was a very rare presentation of cancer called Histiocytosis X. Luckily this kind of cancer is treatable if caught extremely early.

Her nephew underwent weekly chemotherapy to shrink the tumour for a year, and then he had surgery to remove what was left.

This experience led Dr. Stevens to understand the need for more support closer to home.

How can I contribute locally?

When most people say that they’re contributing to organizations that help individuals and families following a diagnosis, they’re donating to large organizations, which is great! However, there are dozens of groups in your community that could also use your support.

If you can’t donate money, you can always donate your time. A lot of organizations make it easy for anyone, regardless of their skills, to contribute to local cancer research and support groups. You can participate in everything from athletic events like Run for the Cure or you can take a less active role by participating in Plaid for Dad. No matter how you choose to get involved, these organizations appreciate your support.

If you can’t donate your time or money, there is another valuable resource that you can give: your blood. If you are 17 or older, you can donate whole blood every 56 days, plasma every seven days, and platelets every 14 days.

For those who would rather donate something tangible, you can reach out to your local hospital and ask what the oncology department needs. They often accept donations of knitted hats or blankets.

Your donations do more than fund cancer research. They allow families to have some semblance of normalcy. If the person diagnosed is the provider, they can’t work. Your donation allows the family to have food on the table. If it is the child who is sick, one parent or both will have to take time off work to care for the child. Your donation allows the parents to take a leave of absence and still take care of any siblings. If the person who was diagnosed has to travel to receive treatment, your donation will allow them to get to their appointments.

Whether you choose to donate your time, money, blood, or skills, you are giving people hope. Because of people like you, families and individuals have one less thing to worry about when they begin this life-altering journey.

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