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

How Nancy Gives Back by Sharing her Story 

Hi, my name is Nancy. For the last 16 years, I’ve been a volunteer for the telephone matching service of the Quebec Cancer Foundation. I got involved simply because I wanted to pay it forward. In 1999, when I was only 23 years old, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin disease – a cancer of the lymphatic system. When I was given the news, the oncologist was kind enough to put me in touch with his next patient, someone who had survived the same type of cancer at stage 4. A few days later, she and I agreed to meet to talk more. This meeting was a major turning point in my healing journey. I had in front of me a woman my age with the same cancer, but more advanced than mine. She was in remission and in great shape. At that moment, I knew that if she could be healed, then so could I. And suddenly, the word “cancer” was no longer a death sentence. The word “hope” came to mind. My mission now is to instill that same idea into the minds of all young people in their 20s or 30s who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Doing volunteer work reminds me every day of how grateful I am to be cured and healthy. I have a job I love, a husband I love and two beautiful children I adore – all of this 18 years after having cancer! It’s my way of expressing how thankful I am to life and it reminds me to lead a healthy lifestyle (sleep, nutrition and exercise) so I can reach my goal of making it to 110. We often get so busy we forget to keep up our healthy habits. But every time I am matched with someone, I am reminded of what is truly important in life.

I often give my email address so people can contact me after the peer matching ends. Months later, I often find wonderful surprises in my inbox: a kind message of gratitude or news that the person has healed. Recently, one woman wrote me after two years to thank me for the support I gave her when her spouse had cancer. Even if the initial prognosis was rather bleak, she wanted to let me know that her spouse was in remission and that they were planning new projects together. This message really moved me. It warms my heart to know that by sharing my story I was able to brighten someone else’s life, even if just for a moment.

It’s only natural for me to help others regain the hope they often lose after a cancer diagnosis. I want to shout it from the rooftops that there is life after cancer! Let me just end with a little saying that has big meaning: “Where there’s life, there’s hope.”

A free, confidential place to share

As Nancy so aptly explains, whether you’re living with cancer or supporting a loved one who has been diagnosed, talking with someone who has experienced the same thing can be extremely helpful. To take part in our telephone matching service, call 1 800 363-0063.

Become a peer support volunteer

Have you been affected by cancer? Looking to help others going through a similar experience the way Nancy does? The Quebec Cancer Foundation is always looking for volunteers. Call Susan Bouchard at 1 800 363-0063 or email her sbouchard@fqc.qc.ca.

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