What is the Role of my Cancer Coach?

Every registered client is matched with a Cancer Coach; this includes the person who has been diagnosed and the family member, loved one, or friend.

The role of the Cancer Coach is to help you identify and work through your current difficulties, explore decisions that are right for you and support you in making choices that work for you, your cancer and your life.

The Coach can give ideas and suggestions and help you choose what to work toward but the decisions belong to you.

You work together with your Cancer Coach to help manage your cancer experience and find ways to cope with the day to day challenges of living with cancer and beyond.

Your Cancer Coach is there to:

Listen to your stories and experiences.

Focus on your priorities and health and wellness goals to help you develop a plan that’s right for you.

Provide information, education and practical skill development to help you get actively involved in managing your own cancer.

Connect you to resources and services you need.

Enhance cancer self-management knowledge, skills and capabilities.

Support you in making the choices that work for you, your cancer, and your life.

Understand the challenges of living with cancer and the impact of those challenges on your quality of life.

Focus on short and long term impacts of cancer.

Provide support in a judgment-free environment.

Help you make decisions and solve problems.

Help you feel more confident and motivated.

Meet Our Coaching Team



My career began as a pediatric nurse, caring for sick and dying children and their families. I have had the privilege of meeting some very healthy, thriving survivors of cancer years later. They tell me what helped them get through their illness and treatment was feeling supported and informed by family, friends and the professionals around them, having choices and being able to play.  I have never forgotten the lessons I learned from those incredible children and their families. In my work as a cancer coach, I work with clients and caregivers who are facing difficult times with courage, grace and dignity. It is a privilege to walk beside them, as they learn about the disease, navigate the complexities and frustrations of the health care system, and connect with resources for support and healing.

I have worked for many years as a nurse practitioner in community health, with First Nations, Inuit and Metis clients, new immigrants and refugees to Canada, and clients with disabilities, chronic illness and mental health issues. I have learned a great deal from my clients and colleagues in these settings, about community, resilience, cultural diversity in health and healing practices, and of the barriers that many people face to accessing resources for healthy living.

Training and work in counselling, coaching and group facilitation have cultivated my therapeutic conversation skills. As a coach, I use these tools to help people dealing with cancer or supporting a loved one to make decisions about their health, to connect with others, and to better cope with stress and improve their quality of life.  I have a strong grounding in narrative and art therapies, which brings a creative and playful element to the work I do. As a yoga teacher, dancer and meditator, I value the connection between mind body and spirit and the role this plays in dealing with difficult situations and recovering from illness.

At the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, I do meaningful and fulfilling work that is congruent with my values and allows me to live a balanced, healthy life.  I love my job.

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”

― Pema Chödrön


Patricia Barrett-Robillard

My background is in community health. I have worked with clients and their families through all stages of cancer, including being with them at end of life, so this helped prepare me for working with Survivors and Caregivers at all stages of the cancer journey. I have a lot of experience working one on one with clients as well as working in groups so this has been helpful in individual coaching and facilitating the Coping with Cancer group. I have training and experience in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Self Management which helps me work with clients to help them identify their own needs and set goals that are important to them.

What inspired me to come and work for the Cancer Foundation was their commitment to the concept of Survivor empowerment and holistic health care. I truly believe in the Mind, Body and Spirit Connection and the need to address all these areas in order to be healthy. I like being able to discuss meditation, exercise, stress management, and strategies for positive emotional health with clients as a way that they can improve their overall health and cope better with their cancer. I learn things every day in this position that help me improve my health. I continue to be inspired by the survivors who come here. They are often going through very difficult treatments and coping with terrible side effects or stressful situations and so many of them are still very positive. My favorite part of the Coping with Cancer group sessions is sitting back and listening to the survivors being so generous and supportive to each other. They share their experiences and strategies they have used to cope. They learn so much more from each other than we can ever teach them. It is wonderful that we provide the space for that to happen.

“A successful life is balanced; find time for family, friends, faith, exercise, learning, volunteering. Everything in moderation and trust that life is unfolding as it should.”

– Gerry Barrett


Mélina Ladouceur

I’ve worked primarily in a community health setting, especially with people coping with major life changes and transitions, and living with chronic illness. As a social worker, I’ve had the opportunity to work with clients from different walks of life, and to support individuals, families, and children/youth through individual and group sessions. I have additional training in community and health system navigation, and I recently completed a one-year Nutrition certificate program with an in-depth look at cancer, heart disease, fatigue and weight management.

My experience working with those who are facing cancer, as well as my holistic approach to helping people achieve balance and improve both their physical and emotional health, have been especially helpful for me in this role. The most important thing that has helped me is my passion for helping others and my own values – I believe that what is most important is to be present, to listen and to go above and beyond to ensure that each of my clients has the information they need and the practical tools to help them take charge of their health and address the challenges they are facing.

I am inspired every day by my clients – people living with cancer and their families. I believe that each person has unique strengths and inner wisdom based on their life experience. Cancer coaching allows me to be present to someone’s experience and to meet them where they’re at, provide them with the information they need, help them problem-solve, and explore strategies to help them make important decisions and meet their personal needs. I love how coaching is person-centered and allows me to work in partnership with my clients to help them focus on what is most important to them. People are incredibly resilient. Nothing inspires me more than seeing the changes in my clients, when their quality of life improves, their stress diminishes and when they feel empowered and feel that they have the tools to manage their health and well-being.

“The real journey of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”

– Marcel Proulx



I’m a health care professional that has worked primarily in community settings. As both a Registered Dietitian and Clinical Exercise Physiologist, I have had the opportunity to help hundreds of people reach their goals, better manage their disease and their health. Some of my most memorable moments include working on the Oncology unit at the Jewish General Hospital, and volunteering at different cancer and wellness centers in Montreal. I always felt that I was making a difference in people’s lives and the long days at the office never really felt like work. The perseverance and the courage of survivors inspired me; through them, I learned not to sweat the small stuff. Working with individuals and families who are impacted by cancer is where I want to be.

Everyone’s cancer journey is unique and people use different strategies to deal with their health challenges and improve their quality of life. I strongly believe that people know themselves best, that every person has the inner resources to help them cope with the disease and manage their health. My job is to help them find what ‘makes them tick’, to identify techniques and strategies to move forward and feel more control.  We often have the right tools, but sometimes we need help to put them to good use.

I am so proud to be part of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation’s team of Cancer Coaches, to be able to provide a service that focuses on the whole person and clients’ specific needs. I look forward to working with you to get the support you need through individual and group coaching.

“It always seems impossible until it is done”

– Nelson Mandela

Cancer Coaching Services



Includes 5 hours of complimentary Cancer Coaching over a one year period.



Complimentary programs designed for registered clients that have similar needs and goals.



Paid sessions for registered clients designed to provide tips and tools for managing cancer.



Reiki and sauna services provided to help balance your mind, body and spirit.



Nutritional services to help you live a grounded and healthy life.