Canadian Cancer Society Volunteer Recognition
by Scott A. Sumner
Each spring in Thunder Bay the Canadian Cancer Society hold a luncheon to thank volunteers for their work. I asked speaker at the event Katie Wright, PHD Senior Manager
Research Communications for Canadian Cancer Society Ontario Division
some basic questions.
What is cancer?
“Cancer is when genetic changes happens within a cell that cause it to grow in unpredictable and abnormal ways. Genes that control how often a cell divides maybe turned off and the cells might start to grow uncontrollably. Those usually grow into masses and then can start to
interfere with the function of the organ they are in or press into other organs. They can break off and go into the blood stream and go into different organs and spread and affect multiple systems.”
You are funding many research studies?
“ We are trying to find new treatments all the time. For instance we are funding ways to stimulate our immune system. Our goal is to raise more money. We can only fund about 30% of the
research projects but with more money we can fund more research. Thunder Bay is raising a lot of money.”
“ There will never be one cure. There are over 200 different types of cancers which need different ways to study. I am optimistic we are developing more ways to treat cancer.”
Why does cancer happen in some people?
“Cancer can happen for many reasons. A small percentage is bad luck. You may have inherited mutations. A lot is due to environment conditions like smoking, UV rays or occupational exposure. It is all about living a healthy lifestyle, not to smoke, to drink too much, to exercise and eat healthy. Over 50% of all cancers are preventable by having a healthy lifestyle.”
Maria Cabral, Manager of Northwestern Communities for the Canadian
“ We are doing well in Thunder Bay. The more support we get the better, but we are certainly appreciating the volunteers and community partners. We couldn’t do the work we do with out them. The region is vast from White River to the Manitoba border with 18 pockets of
communities. Our volunteers are the boots on the ground.”
“ We have had budgets up to $1.6 million annually to raise but it changes one year from the next depending on the economy say in the communities like Terrace Bay or Red Lake. We have 5 staff, two interns from NOHFC and the front desk is volunteers.”