While the volunteer numbers have been dwindling since the news broke in January, local Canadian Cancer Society volunteers will still be active after the Qualicum Beach office closes this week.
Local volunteer Sheila Dale said by e-mail that volunteers want ensure the public the same services will still be available after the office closes today, March 28.
She said when the closure was announced, “A number of volunteers left at that time. Some stayed on and did shorter shifts to keep the office open.”
“We have made these changes to reduce administrative costs and maximize our ability to continue to provide leading cancer prevention initiatives, trusted information and compassionate support programs to Vancouver Islanders,” Kathy Ilott, Vancouver Island Regional Director, said in January.
She stressed that it was a very difficult decision made at the provincial level during budget deliberations in light of tough times over the last three to five years.
The Nanaimo office at Unit E, 777 Poplar Street will take over serving the area and they can still be reached at the information and support line: 1-888-939-3333 or www.cancer.ca.
Services like the driving program for cancer patients requiring rides to appointments will be organized through Nanaimo while local support groups will continue to meet as independent groups at their various community locations.
The breast cancer support group will continue at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at The Gardens in Qualicum Beach. The prostate cancer support group will also be at 7 p.m. at The Gardens the first Tuesday of each month. The Gardens is at 650 Berwick Avenue North.
Mammography clinics will continue to be held twice a year in Parksville and Qualicum Beach and will past volunteers from the local office will still provide reception duties, Dale said.
Volunteers are also still collecting used postage stamps, envelopes and post cards, which can be dropped off at the Oceanside Volunteer Association which is moving up the street to #10 – 221 W. Second Avenue and is open Tuesday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The stamps go to the local Eastern Star ladies, who clip and sort them and sell them in Vancouver to buy medical supplies for cancer patients.
“We, the volunteers for the Canadian Cancer Society Office in Qualicum Beach have been grateful for the many years of assisting those in our Oceanside community,” Dale said on behalf of all the local volunteers. “We all will miss our local contact with you.”