Colourful walk supports cancer coach centre
Cancer colour walk organizer Judy Whitelock, right, and Maplesoft Centre community and member relations manager Tara Beechey, demonstrate Nordic Pole Walking amidst the stunning fall colours.
October 25, 2012
The first Ottawa Valley Cancer Colour Walk bridged communities and rose awareness of a new set of services available to cancer patients at Maplesoft Centre.
The idea for the fundraiser, held Oct. 20 on the abandoned CN line between Renfrew and Arnprior, came about at organizer Judith Whitelock’s Nordic Pole Walking classes.
“The way it worked is that people from Renfrew walked toward Arnprior and people from Arnprior walked toward Renfrew,” said Whitelock at a lunch held at Glasgow United Church Saturday following the event. “Glasgow Station is about the middle. The idea was formulated in my Nordic Pole Walking classes in both towns as we use both ends of the trail.”
She was pleased with the turnout at this year’s event and has high hopes for the future.
“We hope this little event this year will grow in size in this area next year and possibly expand up the valley and even across the river next year,” said Whitelock.
Whitelock expressed thanks on behalf of everyone to the event’s two major sponsors – Tim Hortons Arnprior for supplying coffee and to Arnprior Chrysler for the loan of a van used to transport participants back to their vehicles.
Maplesoft Centre community and member relations manager Tara Beechey explained Renfrew County and West Carleton are served by the centre, which provides cancer coaching from pre-diagnosis to recovery and survivorship.
The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation’s Maplesoft Centre is the first of its kind in Canada. “It provides services that the medical system can’t,” said Beechey. “It is free for cancer patients and they don’t need a medical referral.”
The cancer coaches are from a variety of backgrounds and have a multitude of skills and expertise. “Whether it’s a nutritionist, a psychologist, a psychotherapist – all have a background in some area of health,” said Beechey.
Maplesoft’s coaches have more time to sit and discuss and answer questions than a patient’s general practitioner or oncologist might have, said Beechey.
“The services we offer work in conjunction with patient’s treatment,” she said. “It’s about taking control of the illness and being able to make decisions about how you want to go about your cancer journey.”
Nutrition, fitness, mental health – all are addressed through programs at Maplesoft. There are also courses and workshops for caregivers and children whose parents have cancer.
Renfrew’s Sandra Riopelle, herself a cancer survivor, said she enjoyed the experience and hadn’t been aware of Maplesoft and its services before the event.
“It was great. We walked the route from Renfrew. I enjoyed the walk – the trails were beautiful.”
Participant Darrel O’Shaughnessy, president of Arnprior’s dragonboat team, said it was a beautiful day to be out and a worthy cause to be supporting.
“On the team, there’s not one of us who hasn’t been touched by cancer,” said O’Shaughnessy.
To learn more about Maplesoft, which is located at 1500 Alta Vista Dr. in Ottawa, call 613-247-3527 or visit www.ottawacancer.ca/en/cancer-survivorship-centre/history.aspx.
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