New group provides support to survivors

Local teacher Ruth Finnie, who was diagnosed with cancer in the fall, is hoping to start a support group for cancer survivors.

Patients need a tremendous amount of support when going through difficult medical treatments, but it is easy to forget that support is still needed when those treatments are over.

After being diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2014, local teacher Ruth Finnie has been searching for some sort of support group here in Golden that can help cancer survivors reclaim control over their lives.

“I really wanted to talk to somebody or feel connected…And there was no group to go to, I checked,” she said.

Finnie has been through this once before when her daughter was diagnosed while living in Golden. So she started a group that was focused on youth cancer patients and their families.

“After about two years I got kind of burnt out, so I stopped. And when I stopped, it stopped.”

So this time around Finnie wants to make sure that this group is not hers, but the community’s. She doesn’t envision any kind of formal structure to the group, just a series of workshops and get togethers where survivors can connect with each other, have some fun, or learn a new skill that will help them feel more in control of their lives.

“This will really be centred around volunteers,” she said. “I’m looking for professionals, the talented and the skilled. We have so many people in this community who have so much they can offer. Whether it’s yoga, karate, or some sort of craft that you can share with the group, we’re looking for anyone who’s interested in being involved.”

Unfortunately there is no funding to support a group like this, and Finnie wants to make sure this doesn’t become a burden on any of the volunteers, or cost the cancer survivors anything to participate.

“Having gone through this with my daughter, and knowing a lot of people who have gone through it, I know that it’s important to not just survive, but thrive. Getting that control back in your life is so important,” said Finnie.

There is no schedule, and Finnie is still looking for more people to run workshops, as well as participants. But they are expected to start very soon.

She wants this to be a safe and welcoming environment for any cancer survivor, which is why she says she would be willing to either provide or help co-ordinate some car pooling so that no one has to walk into a new environment alone.

Anyone who has a skill they would like to share with the group, or any cancer survivor looking for support is encouraged to contact Finnie at 250-344-2171, or rrfinnie@telus.net.

“I don’t want this just to be about me, I want to reach as many people as possible and make it beneficial.”