CORNER BROOK Cara-Leigh Wyllie finds it hard to describe the feeling she gets from helping cancer patients.
© Diane Crocker
Cara-Leigh Wyllie of the Canadian Cancer Society spoke at the Rotary Club of Corner Brook luncheon Thursday at the Glynmill Inn.
“I’m very honoured that those people share their stories with me. And it’s a very rewarding job,” said Wyllie, the community services co-ordinator with the Canadian Cancer Society — Newfoundland and Labrador Division in Corner Brook.
She made that comment following Thursday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Corner Brook at the Glynmill Inn. Wyllie and Heidi Kirby, community resource co-ordinator, spoke to the club about the society, the programs and the work it does, and the Relay for Life.
“People who come to us are at a very vulnerable time in their lives and so to be able to connect with those people, it’s very rewarding,” she said.
During the presentation she highlighted the supports and services offered by the society and noted that requests for help have increased.
As an example, she said the society provided 394 wigs, 984 turbans and 339 hats free of charge to cancer patients in the province in 2012. She brought along an example of a short-style wig that the society purchases for about $60 and said a longer style can cost upwards of $120.
She said the purchase of wigs is just one example of where the money donated to the society goes.
She also mentioned Daffodil Place, the 24-room subsidized lodging facility for cancer patients who have to travel to St. John’s for appointments, testing and treatment.
This she said is where a lot of the money raised within the province goes. In terms of local usage, Wyllie said 790 guests from 77 communities on the west coast have stayed a total of 10,000 nights at Daffodil Place since it opened.
At times she wishes the society could do much more, but recognizes being there to answer a phone call, provide a service or help people find the information they need is very important.
That’s why she said the society just wants to enhance what it already does and make more people aware of the services offered.
Kirby said speaking to groups like the Rotary Club helps to create the awareness that the society is looking for in the community.
“Because we do have so much to offer, and we know so many people are impacted by cancer. It’s just getting it out there ‘this is what we do and we’re here to help.’”
And it’s also about being able to promote its fundraising efforts and possibly generate support.
During her section of the presentation, Kirby talked about the society’s Relay for Life.
She said the society’s major fundraiser this year in the city is going to take place outdoors at Margaret Bowater Park on Sept. 7.
She later said the change in venue is a cost-saving measure.
The event had been held at the Pepsi Centre in previous years but Kirby said the park space is a free venue.
“It’s allowing us to save a lot more and therefore more money can go to the worthy cause.”
Last year’s event raised over $40,000 and Kirby said the goal for this year is $50,000.
The theme of the event will be “Relay Under the Stars,” and Kirby said the society hopes the setting will help revitalize it.
“I know it may be an issue for some people, but overall we hope that it will generate new interest in the relay and spark some life back into it.”
To encourage involvement the society will have a team recruitment night on May 8 at 7 p.m in the Sobeys community room.
Kirby also encouraged the Rotarians to get involved by putting in teams or providing financial support to the event.
“For anyone who has any connection to cancer, if they’ve been impacted by it in any way it’s a great way to give back and get involved,” said Kirby.