One in two Canadians are expected to develop cancer during their lifetime, based on 2010 estimates, and one in four are expected to die from the disease. Despite that prevalence, people who receive a cancer diagnosis can feel very much alone in their experience.
Enliven, Muskoka’s centre for well-being in cancer, provides support to cancer patients and their loved ones to help reduce the isolation many feel during their journey following a diagnosis. The organization is hosting a Cancer Wellness Fair on May 1 at the Huntsville Legion to showcase the local services available to those living with a cancer diagnosis and their caregivers.
Jackie Riley, who was recently named executive director of Enliven, is facilitating the Cancer Wellness Fair with the help of volunteers and close to 30 local exhibitors.
“I’ve always been focused on wellness no matter the stage in our life and what we’re going through,” said Riley, who runs her own healthy workplace consulting business. “Whether we are at a healthy place or going through disease, loss or struggle, I want to help bring out the best in people. Wellness is intended for all of us no matter what our landscape and story may look like.”
Enliven is currently offering four programs for both cancer patients and their caregivers including Walk it Out (a get together for gentle walking), Talk it Out (a peer support group for individuals and their caregivers lead by naturopath Brian Knappet and relationship/family coach Karen Patterson), Stretch it Out (gentle yoga with Allie Chisholm-Smith), and Write it Out (a journalling program lead by Monique Charlton).
“All of our programs are meant for people to connect,” said Riley. “What many people are missing is making real connections with real people and sharing real empathy so we don’t feel alone, no matter what we’re struggling with. We want you to know that there are other people out there who understand what it’s like to be going through this journey.”
The fair will feature booths and presentations from local support services. Attendees are encouraged to bring their caregivers as they can benefit from services as well.
Light refreshments will be provided and there will be prize giveaways.
Muskoka-area services that will be available at the fair will include but aren’t limited to:
- staff from Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre cancer program,
- meals on wheels representatives
- naturopathic doctors, and
- makeup artists who specialize in covering up hair loss.
Speakers will discuss topics such as:
- taking medical leave from work,
- going back to work after cancer,
- financial considerations while going through cancer, and
- legal considerations while going through cancer.
The Legion is an accessible venue with ample parking and an elevator for those with physical restrictions.
People who wish to attend but have travel limitations can also call the Enliven office at 705-787-5459 to arrange for a volunteer driver.
The fair is free but donations at the event are greatly appreciated. If you can’t attend, donations can also be made here.
Enliven is still looking for business sponsors for the event. If you wish to get involved, call their office at 705-787-5459.
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