Relive the experiences described in the inspiring stories told by people close to the foundation.

“I’m happy to be able to give what I wish I had received.”

For the past 9 years, I’ve been volunteering with the Quebec Cancer Foundation’s telephone peer matching service, an initiative that could have helped me when I was battling cancer and going through a difficult time 40 years ago. 

My story

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29, just after I had stopped breastfeeding. I remember it as though it was yesterday: my daughter was but 2 years old. I underwent chemotherapy and had a double mastectomy, after which my ovaries were removed. These procedures led to an early menopause when I was 34 years old. My morale took a beating, not only from the cancer but also because of hormonal issues: I felt powerless and despondent. I didn’t know where to turn to for help...

At the time, there were no organizations such as the Quebec Cancer Foundation, nor any telephone peer matching services. I’m happy to be able to give what I wish I had received: an attentive ear, reassurance and someone on the other end of the line who understands what callers are feeling and going through.

My cancer, in addition to making me want to learn more, prompted me to undergo training on end-of-life care and support for people with cancer. I also volunteered at the Saint-Eustache Hospital during this period. I decided to become involved with the Quebec Cancer Foundation after hearing about the organization during a health network symposium.

I’ve been a volunteer at the Foundation, in the area of helping relations, for the past 9 years. My role consists of supporting patients who are facing cancer, as I was. Making a difference in the lives of people with cancer and their loved ones is what inspires and motivates me. People have reported feeling as though a heavy load had been lifted after having confided in me. Many of them, even once cancer-free, continue to call in – that’s how much good the service can do! There’s even one service user whom I’ve been exchanging with for the last 9 years.

Because loved ones (friends, family or co-workers) don’t always know how to react to a cancer diagnosis, people with cancer often find themselves coping with the disease on their own. The COVID-19 pandemic, moreover, amplified this problem and led to more people wishing to speak of their battle with cancer. Some people must also contend with spousal or psychological abuse in the home. It’s sometimes easier to share things with a volunteer who understands the caller’s distress and is able to recommend additional resources. Volunteering requires knowing how to create a safe space without judgement and listening to people when they need it the most.

Ginette Lanctôt

Take advantage of the service or become a volunteer
by calling 1-800-363-0063

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