Local volunteer recognized for 40 years of service to Canadian Cancer Society



Cancer volunteerBy Ron Giofu


Charlene Cowan’s journey with the Canadian Cancer Society started when a neighbour asked her to help with door-to-door canvassing.

In the last four decades, her relationship with the society has steadily grown and last Tuesday night, the River Canard resident was recognized for her 40 years of service.

“I’m certainly honoured but humbled at the same time,” said Cowan. “I share it with all the other volunteers.”

Cowan said all volunteers are “winners” regardless of what group they volunteer for or where it is. She said they get to meet new people and make an impact as they do their work.

Volunteer work that Cowan has performed with the Canadian Cancer Society has also included fundraising, Relay for Life, education and serving on various committees. She said the work is very rewarding.

The peer support, for instance, sees people as closely matched up as possible with people newly diagnosed with the same form of cancer they had.

“You speak with them or do a visit and are able to guide them along their journey,” said Cowan. “(The rewards) go on and on. It just comes back 100-fold.”

During her 40 years, cancer has touched Cowan’s family personally with her husband Doug, her mother and friends and family getting the disease. Cowan herself is a breast cancer survivor, having being diagnosed 25 years ago and after a few reoccurrences, she’s been cancer-free for 17 years.

Being able to see where donations go is a plus for her as well. Cowan noted extensive research is being done at the University of Windsor into the disease.

While noting more cancers are being found today, people are still living longer. Cancer diagnoses are being made earlier and that is helping people to live longer.

Cowan said she will continue to volunteer for the Canadian Cancer Society and her other causes and encourages others to do the same.

“Get out and volunteer no matter what organization it is,” she said. “Just give back. It doesn’t have to be on a continuous basis. It can be even for one event.”

For more information on how to volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society, call 519-254-5116.

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