| May 25, 2006


Feature Article - May 25, 2006

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Feature Article - May 25, 2006

Canadian CancerSociety Volunteer AppreciationDinner

by Jeff Green

Mary Howes greeted a smiling group of volunteers from the Central and North Frontenac region of the Canadian Cancer Society, as they gathered on the main floor of the Olden Township hall after feasting on ham and scalloped potatoes prepared by the Land o’ Lakes Seniors club.

She introduced the evening’s guest speaker, Siobhan McArdle, a radiologist from the Southeast Ontario Cancer Centre in Kingston who spoke to the impact of the money raised by the Cancer Society on improved treatment and research both in Kingston and throughout the country.

She also talked about how important cancer society volunteers are to patients who receive treatment at the cancer centre, and to the volunteer drivers who help many people get to their appointments, which is particularly relevant in the rural area.

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“Regardless of the weather, volunteer drivers make sure that patients arrive on time, at the right place. And they wait as long as they need to take the people home again. They also provide tremendous support to the patients. The work the cancer society volunteers do is invaluable,” McArdle said

She talked about a recent CBC TV program, Finding the Cancer Answer, which was highly critical of the Canadian Cancer Society, and which has made canvassing for donations difficult in some parts of the Country. The program criticized the society for not advocating strongly enough for the recognition of various environmental risk factors that can affect cancer rates. McArdle said that the program was one-sided, noting that “a 45-minute, wide-ranging interview with the head of the Canadian Cancer Society was reduced to a 30-second clip when the program aired.

The effect of the program did not seem to be too great locally, as local chapter treasurer Kathy Gray announced that the recent door to door canvassing program in Central and North Frontenac and Bedford raised $20,258. An additional $1,851 was raised through daffodil sales. As well, $3,921 was raised by the society in this region in 2005 through in memoriam donations.

Mary Howes, nicknamed “Marshalling Mary” for her ability to coordinate the volunteers in the region and send them down over a thousand kilometres of road for door-to-door canvassing, introduced the canvassing captains that were instrumental in this year’s successful campaign. They are: Pat Barr (Bedford), Lois Weber (Plevna), Bob Olmstead (Snow Road), Norma Granlund (Crow Lake), Philippa Gray (Mountain Grove), Rick Brown (Arden), Sheila Deline (Henderson), Olive Allen (Mississippi), Dorothy Fraser (Hwy. 38), Pat Dowdall (Sharbot Lake), Kathy Gray (509), Nora Przewoznik (Clarendon), and Virginia Norris (Wilkinson).

“For every $100 raised through door-to-door canvassing, the Cancer Society makes $95,” said Mary Howes. “The Cancer Lottery, on the other hand, only raises $25 from every $100 ticket that is sold.”

Mary Howes also thanked the Zealand Women’s Circle, whose members have donated 36 handmade quilts to local cancer patients over the past three years.

Claire Macfarlane organises volunteer driving in the region. She announced that last year a total of 14 drivers made 292 trips to bring 20 different patients to treatment, driving a total of 30,530 kilometres.

Finally, certificates were handed out for 5, 10, 20, and 30-year volunteers with the Cancer Society. Among the recipients was Judy Gray, who has been volunteering for 30 years.

Later this year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving weekend, the third annual Walk for Cancer will be held in Sharbot Lake . (Look for details as the event approaches)

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