“Cancer Wellness is not about the disease. It’s about hope, education and experiences,” Debbie Magwood said, photographed here on July 9, 2018.
Peter McCabe / MONTREAL GAZETTE
The West Island Cancer Wellness Centre’s 11th anniversary on June 26 also marks the first edition of the National Cancer Wellness Awareness Day.The Kirkland-based non-profit centre spearheaded the initiative for Health Canada approval.Founder and executive director Debbie Magwood said the initiative was launched in part to recognize the efforts of the Cancer Wellness Centre.The ultimate goal of the awareness day is to encourage others to launch wellness centres across the country.Health officials estimate one in two Canadians will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime.“Cancer Wellness is not about the disease. It’s about hope, education and experiences,” Magwood said.The wellness centre offers psychosocial and fitness programs for people living with cancer. Activities work in conjunction with a client’s medical care.It’s important for people coping with cancer to simply have a place to go and be around people who are going through the same thing, Magwood said.“The actual services that we have focus on what the body needs, on what the spirit needs to heal,” Magwood said. “If you have to have surgery or you’re going through chemotherapy, radiation or hormonal therapies, it’s a shock to the body.“All our programs help with the impact the diagnosis has. (They) improve quality of life. The nutrition program will look at what you can or cannot eat, how you can make sure you get the nutrients you need.”Physiotherapy, massage and pain management are other programs offered to help people with their physical and emotional recovery, Magwood said.Last month, Hope and Cope Montreal, Venturing Out Beyond Our Cancer (VOBOC) and the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation supported the West Island centre’s efforts during a promotional stop in Ottawa to meet with around 25 MPs and Senators.The city of Kirkland recently tabled a resolution to proclaim June 26 as National Cancer Wellness Awareness Day.Nelligan Liberal MNA Monsef Derraji read a statement at the National Assembly acknowledging the first edition, as did Lac St-Louis Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia in the House of Commons.The West Island centre recently opened an out-of-town retreat for its clientele in the Laurentians, a move made possible thanks to Tony Bartolini who donated an unused house he owned in St-Hippolyte.The West Island Cancer Wellness Centre opened its new location in Kirkland in late 2016, relocating from its original small yellow house in Beaconsfield.The public is invited to attend an open house hosted by the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre, 115 Du Barry St., Kirkland, Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, call 514-695-9355 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org/akramberger1Related