Take a One Night Stand Against Cancer
The Southern Interior Rotary Lodge is a lifeline for residents who are fighting cancer. Fruitvale resident Vickie Iachetta certainly feels that way after spending the month of August at the lodge while undergoing radiation therapy in Kelowna.
From Sept. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016, residents from the Southern Interior region stayed over 10,000 nights at the lodge. West Kootenay residents alone account for 1,599 of these nights.
The Canadian Cancer Society is asking residents in its communities to Take A One Night Stand Against Cancer by picking up the tab for one or more nights stay.
“The people who live in the outlined communities don’t always have the same level of resources that are found in a bigger centre like Kelowna,” says Vickie. “But it is available to us, too, and I think we forget that sometimes.”
The 59-year-old breast cancer survivor remembers how she felt when she first arrived at the lodge. “That day we went in, I was upset,” she admits. “I just wanted to go home but (my husband) Mario said, ‘We’re right here, let’s just go in and look around. We’re not committing to anything.’”
Her fears of not finding a room that could house both of them quickly diminished when she realized the lodge offered a few rooms for couples and one was, in fact, available for the duration of their stay.
A friendly voice from a Montrose resident, followed by a tour of the comfortable lodge and chat with the manager put her at ease. She also found comfort in the location of the lodge, conveniently placed right beside the cancer treatment centre.
“We were amazed by the sheer number of volunteers and the kindness and thoughtfulness of volunteers and staff,” she shares. “We were further amazed by what was offered at the lodge – almost every other night there was entertainment.”
Beyond live music, Vickie enjoyed relaxation yoga, a “look good and feel good” program and a quiet library, where she found retreat. Above all, the retired couple was pleased to find affordable accommodation in the middle of summer in the Okanagan.
“After visiting the lodge this past summer, I am proud of the option it gives people from our area,” agrees Valerie Rossi, Annual Giving Coordinator. “Beyond the comfortable setting and beautiful location in Kelowna, visiting patients who stay there find a sense of peace as they concentrate on fighting cancer and getting healthy again.”
Today, Vickie is a breast cancer survivor. She counts her daily blessings in the form of her grandchildren, loving husband and good health. But, it really wasn’t that long ago that she found what would later be diagnosed as breast cancer.
“I was in the shower and accidently found a lump while I was just washing under my arm,” she recalls. “I could feel it on the outside of my breast, but I thought it’s nothing.”
The diagnosis that followed shocked the woman who had been placed on a watch list for a decade and received frequent mammograms.
There was little time to digest the news of the “fast moving breast cancer.” She went through surgery, followed by chemotherapy that wrapped up at the end of June. Radiation started promptly after that, and though the last leg of treatment was difficult, she carries fond memories of the lodge, where she found support in a community away from home.
The Take A One Night Stand Against Cancer campaign allows people in the Southern Interior to pay it forward during this holiday season. The average stay at the lodge is about six nights, but often stays can extend three to six weeks. That’s a long time to be away from home. The lodge is one example of the support programs and options available to local people who are faced with financial and emotional challenges as they move through their cancer journey.
For just $100 you can support two people for a one-night stay at the Lodge, helping to relieve the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis so they can focus on their treatment and on getting well. Any gifts postmarked or received before December 31, 2016, will be receipted for this tax year. To make a donation, visit One Night Stand online at cancer.ca/takeastand, or contact Annual Giving Coordinator Valerie Rossi at (250) 364-0403 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A donation to the Canadian Cancer Society can also be mailed to #15-835 Spokane Street, Trail BC, V1R 3W4.
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer.