More than 375 local volunteers joined together to enjoy a special evening put on by the Canadian Cancer Society Tuesday night at the Fogular Furlan Club. This annual function is held to show sincere thanks to volunteers for another outstanding year.[caption id="attachment_20291" align="alignright" width="311" caption="Judy Lund, manager of the Canadian Cancer Society Essex County Unit."]
[/caption]The common response by speakers to all the volunteers for representing the Canadian Cancer Society and for making an impact in the fight against cancer was, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"Judy Lund, manager of the Canadian Cancer Society Essex County Unit, has been with the society for over five years and is always excited for the fall volunteer recognition dinner when volunteers from the different sectors and programs offered gather to talk about what has happened in the year.This year's theme was "Decades of Impact" and guests were invited to come dressed in attire that represents the decade during which year they began to volunteer, or in attire from when the Society was formed in 1938.The society has been around for over 70 years and Essex County has over 2,000 volunteers. "This is something to be proud of," Lund said.There is more work to be done. Getting together and sharing experiences and stories of how Cancer has touched all of us is a great way to start.[caption id="attachment_20296" align="alignleft" width="311" caption="Janice Smith, transportation coordinator, alongside two volunteer drivers, Rod Clark (center) and Jim Duchene (right)."]
[/caption]Transportation is the oldest Canadian Cancer Society program. Janice Smith, transportation coordinator, has been volunteering since age eight when she joined her father canvassing in Bowmanville. She has been helping out in Essex County now for five years in areas such as office volunteer, outreach, and motivational speaker. Smith eventually became a staff member at the Society and took on the role as Transportation Coordinator for Essex County.Over the time Smith has been doing this job, the numbers of volunteer drivers has remained around 50; some come and go but she stated that they have had a great core of drivers for many years. Smith said that her own parents' courage while battling cancer (her father passed away in 1998) "is the inspiration for me to fight for life" and she really wants the message out there that Canadians are not alone in this fight.Smith and her dedicated staff of volunteers provide rides to cancer patients who are unable to get to their appointments. The volunteers offer a great support system and care. "It feels very rewarding to live in Essex County and work with...caring, and compassionate volunteers," Smith said, summing up her feelings about the CCS.
The night continued with several guest speakers, including CEO of the CCS Ontario Division Martin Kabat. Kabat took the opportunity to thank everyone for their time and service to the society. He said that there were over 65,000 volunteers in Ontario, and 173,000 Canada-wide.Games were played, prizes were handed to winning teams, and music was provided by Averil Spence-Clarke and Anita Leschied. There were also several community and years of service awards honouring five to 20 and over years of service. Several other awards handed out included the Award of Achievement in Community Revenue given to Ricard P. , the Award of Achievement Community Service to Elaine Y., as well as Essex County Award of Dedication to John L.A major milestone was reached this year when the 1 millionth call came into the Cancer Information Call Center. The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. This service can be used by calling 1-888-939-3333, or
It was a great night to thank and recognize those outstanding volunteers who give up their time so generously every year. We will always continue to work together to fight cancer.