Where It All Began
The Georgian Bay Cancer Support Centre is a cancer support Centre providing psychosocial support to people living with cancer, their families and caregivers in the community.
Sandy got sick and a whole community got better.
How it all began…
I have always thrived on making life better for others, as a mother, wife, nurse and friend. I am not afraid to fight for what I believe in and stand up for those that can’t stand on their own. I spent a lifetime worrying for and taking care of others. When I found my tumour and soon after was diagnosed with cancer, suddenly, the nurse became the patient and the mother needed to be cared for. I was scared beyond description and could hardly breathe, but I looked across at my husband, George, and had hope that we would make it through this.
Immediately, my family became my rock, especially George. They built me a deck at our home that faced out to Georgian Bay and called it the “recovery deck”. During my treatment I would sit and enjoy sunsets on this deck and pray for the strength and courage I needed to continue on. I would hope for the day I would watch my children get married and meet my first grandchild. George would often come out to remind me that I would survive, that he loved me, and that I was beautiful (I loved him for his poker face). My children would call me and cry with me, which I was always relieved to hear, because tears were healthy and I needed to know they were dealing with this crisis and the scars would be minimal.
Both my mother and older sister are cancer survivors and when I looked at them I saw hope. I realized how powerful it was to be able to share my fears with those who had been through what I was experiencing. I was also blessed with a loving and devoted group of friends whose laughter gave me hope when it was slipping away. It was at this point that I realized part of my survival plan was to make this challenge count for something. I craved information on the impacts of cancer because the more I learned the stronger I was emotionally. Before treatment ended I decided I was going to start a local cancer support centre.
Today, I am blessed. With the help of many of my angels, including Reinhart Weber and Nicola and Andrew Combes, I have founded the Georgian Bay Cancer Support Centre and I just passed my 5 year cancer free mark. I am full of hope every time I walk into the Centre and see members leaning on one another and sharing their strength when someone needs it. A cancer diagnosis can take so much from you, I am proud to have been given the strength from my family and friends, to forge on and fight for what I believe in.