Cansurmount program in town

“Mrs. Davidson first realized the need for starting some kind of support program for cancer patients in Gravelbourg soon after she got out of the hospital. ‘I felt there was a need for people in the area because when you leave Regina after surgery (for cancer) who do you have to talk to?’, Mrs. Davidson said. ‘No one.'”

November 7, 2014

Whenever I hear about someone having cancer, I always wonder what I would do if I found out I had commonly incurable cancer. I say this because I once had a pre-cancerous gynecological condition which was easily ‘erased’with laser treatment in a doctor’s office. Many cancers are now curable. This is in large part due to fund -raising events like The Terry Fox Run that provides millions of dollars for cancer research.

Years ago, when I was attuned to first level reiki (energy healing), I was elated to discover many people living with cancer were learning the technique. It can help cure cancer, prolong lives, and help raise one’s spirit. If death is inevitable, reiki often assists people to ‘cross over’ in a positive way.

Some people decide to not take the standard radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Some of them live as long– and have better quality lives– or longer than those who do not. I think I would want to research this option if I was diagnosed with cancer.

Qigong, which like reiki is a form of energy healing, has a colour visualization technique to prevent cancer.
Others have told me that decreasing sugar intake is a way to stop the cancer spreading as the cells ‘feed on’ and grow on it.

In the following story, I write about the isolation that some experience when they have cancer. I think fearing cancer is linked with our fear of death to the point that we do not want to associate with anyone who has it.
Read on:

Gravelbourg Gazette
December 21, 1982
Cansurmount program in town
by Tanya Lester

It would be too trite to say there is nothing out of the ordinary about Stella Davidson. But Mrs. Davidson would probably object to being called extraordinary. She insists that she is the same person that she has always been even after she became aware of a change in her life four years ago.

It was then that Mrs. Davidson discovered she had cancer. For anyone who has not had cancer or known someone close to him or her who had it, it is difficult to understand Mrs. Davidson’s situation.

But it is not difficult to understand Mrs. Davidson’s need for people to treat her the same way they have always treated her instead of crossing the street rather than talking with her. This is what Mrs. Davidson had to experience when she first found out she had cancer.

Given the situation in which Mrs. Davidson found herself, it is not difficult either to understand why she started to think about establishing a support group for cancer patients. In April of this year, Mrs. Davidson officially became the coordinator of the new Gravelbourg area CanSurmount chapter. It was largely through her work that the chapter no exists in this town.

CanSurmount is a unique organization for cancer patients and those who have a family member afflicted with the disease. It was first established in Denver, Colorado in 1973. In 1978, the organization was extended to Canada through the work of Liz Severson and Esther Robins, both registered nurses and both cancer patients. Now it has chapters right across the country. It is a “service-to-patients” program of the Canadian Cancer Society.

Mrs. Davidson frist realized the need for starting some kind of support program for cancer patients in Gravelbourg soon after she got out of the hospital. “I felt there was a need for people in the area because when you leave Regina after surgery (for cancer) who do you have to talk to?” Mrs. Davidson said. “No one.”

Mrs. Davidson realized the advantage of one cancer patient just talking with another cancer patient about the same situation with which they both have to deal. She had been driving to see a friend who needed this particular kind of support. “Most people, if they have cancer, want to talk to someone else who has cancer,” Mrs. Davidson said.

When she heard about CanSurmount, which is this type of mutual support program on a one-to-one basis between cancer patients, Mrs. Davidson, it seems, had found what she was looking for. She took her training to be a CanSurmount volunteer in Moose Jaw. It included watching films on the subject and learning about how to visit patients. For example, Mrs. Davidson said they were taught to be cheerful and not depress a patient while visiting. They learned that it is important to realize what to say and to keep anything the patient says strictly confidential.

In turn, Mrs. Davidson has trained 15 people to be CanSurmount volunteers in Gravelbourg. Under the program, the volunteers only go to see a patient if they are asked to do so by the patient, the patient’s family, or someone in the medical profession.

“We talk to one another,” Mrs. Davidson said. “If there’s any fear the person (volunteer) might not have the answer but will understand because we’ve gone through it.” Sometimes it might be merely reassuring someone going in for testing that the medical machines used will not hurt.

Through the CanSurmount cancer chapter in Gravelbourg, spouses of cancer patients, for example, have also found support for each other. Mrs. Davidson summed it up by saying it is a way for people dealing with cancer to “get it off their chests” by talking. The chapter also helped in the Terry Fox Walkathon held in the town.

The local CanSurmount chapter also meets regularly. It have about 25 members and welcomes new ones. Anyone concerned about cancer and interested in attending the meetings can feel free to contact Mrs. Davidson. “It’s not all sober, you know,” she said. “You can have a lot of laughs, too.”

The chapter had to cancel a public meeting featuring Dr. Ewing from Regina’s Allan Blair Cancer Clinic set up a couple of weeks ago because of a weather warning. Mrs. Davidson hopes to re-schedule this talk concerning what is available to cancer patients in the province for sometime this spring. In the meantime, she is keeping extra busy by training CanSurmount volunteers in Assiniboia where another chapter will be established soon.

If there is one message that Mrs. Davidson has to give to people who feel nervous about dealing with cancer patients, it is this: “We want to be treated the same way as before. We’re still the same people.”

To read the first posts on this blog, please go to
Facebook. LinkedIn. Twitter. Google.
Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader by Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or by going to the title and author name to read the first few pages and buy it as
Tanya Lester’s other books are
Dreams & Tricksters, Friends I Never Knew, and Women Rights/Writes. These are available in some library systems and at the Provincial Archives of Manitoba.
Tanya Lester is currently doing a tad of writing for the Sooke Voice News.


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