Volunteer lay navigator Lorne Mackie is one of the friendly faces that greet new patients at the Alex and Jo Campbell Patient and Family Support Centre at the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Island Centre on Lee Avenue.

Volunteer lay navigator Lorne Mackie is one of the friendly faces that greet new patients at the Alex and Jo Campbell Patient and Family Support Centre at the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Island Centre on Lee Avenue.

New cancer centre sees added boost from community

Lay navigators key component to Patient and Family Care Facility

Three months after the B.C. Cancer Agency opened a patient care wing atop its Lee Avenue building, the 10,000-square-foot space is alive with staff, patients and volunteers – both those working one-on-one with clients and those behind the scenes, fundraising to optimize the services already in place.

When Wilma Taylor of the Order of the Eastern Star stopped by the Alex and Jo Campbell Patient and Family Support Centre with her fellow Queen City chapter members to make a donation on behalf of their organization, the person who led their tour of the supportive care facility was a volunteer lay navigator, a central component of the $10-million addition to the agency’s facility.

“I’m impressed,” Taylor said. “Everyone’s upbeat and positive; it’s much improved from when I was a kid.”

Taylor, co-organizer of the Starlight Pops Choir Swing Fever concert held earlier this year in support of the centre, alongside a group of fellow organizers, handed over a $4,000 cheque to staff and followed Lorne Mackie through the wing devoted to providing emotional and psychological support services.

The facility, which opened in March, includes a patient information library and a wellness room, and a station for volunteers such as Mackie, who are trained to lead patients through everything they need to know outside of treatment, from the moment of diagnosis.

“We guide them through that beginning stage – it’s a bumpy one,” Mackie said. “We discuss everything: finances, transportation, a list of questions to ask the doctor. Our role ends when they meet the oncologist.”

Though the donation from her Queen City chapter is relatively small, Taylor said, it makes a difference with chapters across B.C. and the Yukon contributing. The 146-year-old organization has donated to cancer treatment as far back as Taylor can remember, back to a time when her grandfather was receiving cobalt treatment at the outset of the technology.

“The treatment that they received at that time was very scary and now it’s more than hopeful. I can see a huge change not only in the way the patient is informed, but the way it’s a family thing – when one person gets cancer, everyone wants to know and to help.”

Shaun Lorhan, lead of navigation research for the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Island Centre, lauded lay navigators such as Mackie for bridging some of the shortfalls in care.

“What we’ve heard from patients is that we do treatment really well, but we certainly have opportunities to improve our emotional care. Those navigators are really trying to understand from our patients’ perspective, whether it’s difficulty getting to the clinic or difficulty managing the people at home who may have their own health issues and concerns.”

This summer the wellness room will host an exercise study for patients with colorectal cancer and a yoga program aimed at managing cancer-related fatigue.

“Having that dedicated space has allowed us to look at new ways of enhancing care,” Lorhan said, noting her next focus will be on how patients transition out of care, back into the community and into the care of their family doctor.

“Years ago people used to tell you you’d get better, then we were really surprised when they died. We weren’t prepared. Now you don’t even think about it for more than a few minutes because there’s so much hope,” Taylor said. “Patients are not just a body or a cell, they’re treating the whole person.”

Initial funding for the project came via the 2009 Inspire the World campaign, supported by more than 1,000 Vancouver Island residents and business contributors. In 2013, more than 5,000 people on Vancouver Island are expected to be diagnosed with cancer. The B.C. Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Island Centre provides care to approximately 350 patients daily.

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A sketch of the multi-use path that will connect Lagoon Beach and Royal Beach in Colwood. (Sketch courtesy of the City of Colwood)
Concepts for Colwood beach connector coming to council June 21

Major infrastructure project includes gathering places, public amenities and pathways

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read