Jocelyne Cliche

In my job as a social worker, I help others face difficult situations, but I was not at all prepared to face my own diagnosis of advanced stage breast cancer.

Fortunately it exists

In my job as a social worker, I help others face difficult situations, but I was not at all prepared to face my own diagnosis of advanced stage breast cancer, which I received in the fall of 2011. Even if I did suspect that something was wrong, it was still a shock. I was overwhelmed; my universe had crumbled. Then, after the chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy and the waiting, the doctors found metastases last spring.

Through this entire ordeal, I found a place where I felt good, where I could be myself and live my illness in my own way. In fact, I found two instead of one because I lived in two of the Quebec Cancer Foundation lodges, in Gatineau and Montreal.

Living with cancer is, of course, very hard. Knowing that you have to leave your own home to get treatments is certainly stressful. Fortunately, I arrived at the Foundation with confidence, for the first time in July 2012, because my sister had already lived at the Gatineau Lodge and she only had good things to say. During my first five-week stay, I was even accompanied by my 19-year-old daughter. What good fortune to be welcomed with a loved one for that difficult period and only pay a small amount per day! It is so reassuring to have access to such a place.

For me, the greatest gift at the Quebec cancer Foundation is being surrounded by people like me. We could talk about our illness or about something totally different. You might think that assembling a group of people all of whom have cancer would mean that the disease gets all the attention, but that is not the case. As everyone is living with the same issue, the personality of each individual comes out. I built some true and long-lasting ties of friendship!

At the Foundation, I took part in almost all the activities: the community dinners, the coffee get-togethers, the massage therapy sessions, the art therapy. This service, in fact, did me a lot of good! Art therapy gives you the chance to stop, to take stock, to be silent or to share, always in an environment of mutual respect. Through creation more than through speaking, you look outward and it isn‘t necessary to be an artist. The simple choice of one colour can be revealing and the art therapist is there to listen to us.

My experience enabled me to see concretely what donations accomplish. You cannot just turn a deaf ear: cancer touches almost one person in two. Everyone may have, sooner or later, need of support from the Quebec Cancer Foundation.

To all those who give to the Foundation, thank you for helping. You are giving to me and to people with cancer, and you make a real difference in our lives. It does us so much good to be able to be there during those difficult times.

Fortunately the Quebec Cancer Foundation exists and you stand behind it!

Jocelyne Cliche, 48 years of age, from Saint-Mathieu-d’Harricana

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