Transforming the Cancer Experience in Her Hometown: Gabrielle’s Story

By Cancer Foundation on December 6 / 2018

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Gabrielle

When Gabrielle Fecteau was diagnosed with cancer at age 19, her first thought was: “I can do this!”

What she didn’t know was that just two years later, she would be helping families in her own hometown to do just the same.

Beginning in January, Gabrielle will be leading a project to bring Virtual Cancer Coaching to families in her hometown of Timmins, Ontario. As part of her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Ottawa, she has been completing work placements and volunteer positions as a Cancer Coach at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation over the past year.

“I went through most of my cancer experience in Timmins,” Gabrielle says. “My care was impeccable and I’m so grateful for my community’s support, but many of the specialized services individuals affected by cancer need just aren’t close by or convenient to get to.” She cites in particular how certain appointments or services were located in Sudbury, a three-hour drive from Timmins. “It’s a more rural community and I know the area well, so that’s why we thought Timmins would be the perfect place to pilot a project like this,” Gabrielle says. “Our goal is for Virtual Cancer Coaching to help those affected by cancer in Timmins make the best use of the services that are available to them closer to home, and nearby.”

This Virtual Cancer Coaching Pilot Project is set to begin in January, and Coaching is available in both English and French to individuals living with cancer or caregivers living in the Timmins area. Along with Gabrielle’s determination and the support of the Cancer Foundation’s Coaches, the NexJ Connected Wellness on-line platform launched earlier this year has made the project possible.

Gabrielle finished her cancer treatments in 2016, deciding she wanted to specialize in helping other individuals affected by cancer through her career. “I realized that the mental aspects of cancer are often just as important as the physical or medical aspects, and I wanted to do something that could address that,” she says.

Gabrielle is most excited about being able to offer this service to people from her hometown, so they can have even more resources at their disposal. “Timmins is a vibrant, beautiful community that needs this service,” Gabrielle says. “I know the impact Cancer Coaching can have on an individual first-hand and I want my community to benefit from it, and for even more communities to benefit one day too.”

Like any Pilot Project there are a number of unknowns, but Gabrielle is confident in the partnership. She has already started outreach and recruitment for new clients in the Timmins area, with registration closing January 18th, 2019.

She says she believes in this project so much because of the way Coaching empowers people to be more active in their own care. “When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you don’t lose your ability to look after yourself,” she says. “You’re often just in shock, you need a bit of guidance and the right resources. That’s what lead me to the Cancer Foundation.”

Do you know someone living in Timmins who could benefit from Cancer Coaching? Contact Gabrielle Fecteau at 1-855-247-3527 ext.569 or by email at gfecteau@ottawacancer.ca. You can also visit https://www.ottawacancer.ca/timmins/ 

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