Cancer Coaching Goes East

By Cancer Foundation on March 31 / 2017

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from left: Josée Quenneville of the Cancer Foundation, brothers Serge and Luc Lavictoire, and Cancer Coach Mélina Ladouceur

Good news! Families facing cancer in the region of Prescott-Russell will soon benefit from Cancer Coaching closer to home.

Thanks in part to the Rockland Community Hockey Tournament, a Cancer Coach will be available in Rockland one day a week starting in the fall. This development comes after a successful pilot project previously run in the area.

Brothers Serge and Luc Lavictoire, who grew up in Rockland and who run the annual tournament, are convinced the regional Cancer Coaching service will have a huge impact on their community.

“We believe in this,” says Serge. “Let’s be honest: everyone is touched by cancer. For me, it was pretty clear: the need is there.”

The brothers are acting on behalf of their beloved community, spurred on by personal experience. Their father survived two diagnoses of leukemia while they were children, and Serge himself is a cancer survivor.

One of the biggest hurdles for Serge during treatment was communication. “I didn’t talk about this, about how I felt, with my brother. I didn’t want to tell him about the little things. Same thing with my wife. I didn’t want to show her everything, because I wanted her to keep her spirits for the kids.”

“It’s clear that if the Cancer Coaching services had been offered when I had cancer,” he says, “I would have gone. My wife would have definitely benefited from these services, even if it was just to talk to someone.”

Serge believes coaching would also have been helpful for him after his treatments. “How do I get back a good mental health? How do I rebuild my system? I didn’t have all the required tools to get better.”

There was also a certain fear that Serge had to confront.

“I was scared. I was extremely scared to get sick again. You have so many fears, and that’s when support is very important, not only during, but after, to give you the correct tools to get through cancer.”

While Luc may not have had cancer himself, watching as his father and brother each battled the disease came with its own complications. “I experienced cancer in a different way. I was eleven when my dad was in the hospital for two months. He told me: ‘you’re in charge of the house’. Seeing my dad go through cancer, then my brother: that’s when it gets you.”

That’s why for Luc “it wasn’t hard to say yes” when the Cancer Foundation approached the Community Tournament to help support regional Cancer Coaching.

The brothers can already see how Cancer Coaching could benefit the families in their community. A good friend of Serge has recently gone through cancer treatment himself. “I hear him talk and I hear myself in his comments. I’m scared that he will make the same mistakes I made.”

“I’m not a professional,” he says. “I can only tell him about what I experienced, and what he can expect. But for sure a professional would be better suited to give the advice and tools to support him on his journey.”

Tournoi combo 480This year’s Community Tournament, coming April 11th through the 15th, will be Rockland’s 21st. Luc has always loved community activities, so he began the tournament back in 1996 as a way to bring people together. “When we started, we had 6 teams, and we had collected $500. Now, we have 28 teams, and each year, we give $20 000.”

The non-competitive tournament brings families together. There’s a band on the Friday night, a disco on Saturday night, and lots of hockey. “Everyone grew up with the tournament,” says Luc. “It’s now an important moment in their year.”

Luc and Serge see themselves as representatives of their community, responsible for putting the tournament’s funds towards their community’s greater good.

We are thrilled here at the Cancer Foundation to have the support of the Rockland community as together we help families east of Ottawa who are facing cancer. This is a milestone in our work to bring cancer care closer to home.

“But,” as Serge says, “we have to make sure that it won’t be a one-year service, but rather a multi-year service.” And we’re confident that with the support of the wider community, that goal will become reality.

If you’d like to ensure Cancer Coaching remains in the region to help survivors and their families, you too can support the program. You can make a donation online below, or you can reach out to Josée Quenneville, our Director of Leadership Gifts, at 613-247-1920 ext. 264 or at jquenneville@ottawacancer.ca.

More about Cancer Coaching

Cancer Coaching always starts with what matters most to the client. Coaches are health professionals who provide one-on-one guidance for problem solving, decision-making and skills development to support patients, families and caregivers.

Coaches can help with many things, including: understanding the diagnosis, coping with common side effects, working with the care team, managing return to work issues and connecting with community supports and resources. They can provide support to caregivers, families and children, help manage grief and bereavement. They support their clients in making the choices that work for them, their cancer and their life. Through coaching, people who are impacted by cancer can improve their overall health, well-being and quality of life.

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