Cancer Personal Story – Federated Health Charities

May 13, 2022

How an Ontario Public Service Employee Personally Benefitted from one of the Federated Health Charities

My name is Jennifer Stewart, and I am a Director in the Regional Corporate Services Division of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. 

I wanted to take this opportunity to share a little bit about one of the Federated Health Charities that is incredibly important to me, the Canadian Cancer Society.

This is my story

I am a breast cancer survivor and thriver.  I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation in 2016 & 2017.  

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is scary, at any age. However, receiving one at the age of 38 was completely unexpected, and I had no idea what I was facing.

The initial shock and fear of being diagnosed was quickly rivalled by a desire to know exactly what was going on with me and what I could do to fight it.  I remember being told my diagnosis by my family doctor on a summer day in June and was immediately referred to Princess Margaret hospital for an oncologist appointment.  However, that appointment was a week in the future, and I was feeling too many mixed emotions to wait that long, I wanted more information now!

Cancer free

Canadian Cancer Society

I reached out to the Canadian Cancer Society quite quickly after my diagnosis and they assisted greatly with my desire to learn more about my condition.  Their website has a wealth of information and resources on breast cancer and helped to prepare me on what to expect in those early days.  

I wasn’t even aware that there are several different types of breast cancer and several stages to consider, not to mention the associated testing, scans, and treatment avenues to consider for my next steps.  I was able to read up on some of these key details and I was much more prepared for my first oncology appointment, where I received confirmation of the type and stage of my breast cancer, and I was able to participate in the conversation regarding the treatment plan with my medical team.

As I went through my treatment for the next 10 months, I found that the Canadian Cancer Society resources helped me make sense of my diagnosis and were a touchstone I could go to when I wanted more information at each phase of my treatment process.  This provided support, comfort, and reassurance through an overwhelming time. 

They also have information on more practical things that many might not even think of, like where to find a wig or how to arrange transportation to treatment appointments if you need it.  These smaller details are things you might not learn from your medical team but are important to help navigate through your treatment. 

Additionally, they have an online support community where you can connect with others also facing treatment and engage in supportive connections with people who really understand what you’re going through.  This was critical because, no matter how much support you have from family and friends, there’s nothing like connecting with a cancer friend who gets your pain, fears, and deepest thoughts that you don’t feel you can say out loud to anyone else.

Finally, Canadian Cancer Society provides linkages to other important supports in your community, which is where I found out about Wellspring, a great community organization that facilitates in person supports for people going through cancer.  Canadian Cancer Society facilitates building a community of support around you throughout your cancer journey.  

I can say firsthand that the Canadian Cancer Society is such a critical health education, research, advocacy, and support service for people going through cancer.  Without them, my treatment would have been much more difficult.

The Impact of your Donation to Federated Health Charities

When you donate to the Canadian Cancer Society, through Federated Health Charities, your donation goes towards funding the programs and support services that I’ve mentioned.  They ensure that people have information, connections, and community throughout their cancer journey. 

For example, did you know that a donation of $1000 (or $39 per pay)funds one MRI to see if a tumour is responding to chemotherapy? This is just one tangible example of how fundraising dollars are used to help people in active treatment and improve their personal outcome. 

On top of this, the funds provided to the Canadian Cancer Society go towards critical, and potentially ground-breaking, cancer research.  This research improves outcomes for people with cancer and has led to increased survival rates for people diagnosed with cancer.  Because of the important cancer research that the Canadian Cancer Society funds, more than 60% of Canadians diagnosed with cancer survive at least 5 years after diagnosis.   This is huge progress!  Over the past 20 years, the Canadian Cancer Society and the former Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation have invested $360 million dollars in breast cancer research, funding more than 1400 scientific and community grants.

How this Relates to You

I know there is a lot going on in the world right now, and cancer may not be at the forefront of our concerns.    However, here’s a staggering stat for you, 1 in 8 women in Canada will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  

I am one of them. 

And with the stats being that high, there is a good chance that your mother, your sister, your daughter, your grandmother, or your best friend might be another of them.


How Federated Health Charities Can Help

By supporting the Canadian Cancer Society, through Federated Health Charities, I feel confident we will continue to find more and more strategies to fight cancer and improve outcomes for future generations.  

With the help of donors like us, the Cancer Society can help reduce the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer, reduce mortality rates for those who develop the disease and improve quality of life for those affected. 

Federated Health makes it easy to donate, allowing us to make an ongoing contribution in just a few short clicks.  It couldn’t be easier to make a significant impact in someone’s life. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my story and I ask that you keep it in mind when considering whether to give to this year’s campaign. 

Written by Jennifer Stewart

Related Links

Why I Donate to Federated Health Charities

Why We Need Health Charities

2022 Federated Health Charities Campaign Has Launched

Canadian Cancer Society

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