Holiday comforts for cancer

Whether you make a tribute donation, become a monthly donor or support a loved one affected by cancer, there are many ways you can make an impact. Cancer can be an ordeal that many feel they need to be strong for, so their families and friends can feel less afraid. But Cindy Goguen learned having people around who understand what you’re going through is invaluable, especially during holiday season.

Cindy Goguen, holding a coffee mug and laughing in a kitchen.
Cindy Goguen

Giving hope to her loved ones

Cindy Goguen will never forget the moment she found a lump on her breast. She started noticing changes in how her body was feeling that day and once she noticed the lump, she scheduled an appointment with her doctor right away.

“My first reaction was that I had already thought I had breast cancer,” Cindy shares. “I could tell because I felt like my body was kind of doing some weird things.”

Cindy underwent a biopsy and soon after, she received a call from her doctor who confirmed she was living with breast cancer. It was her worst fear – she had lost both her mother and mother-in-law to cancer. As a result, she was hesitant to undergo any treatments that would cause her to feel the same pain that they did. Her first reaction was that she was didn’t want to do anything about the cancer.

However, after speaking with her husband and daughter, Cindy decided that she was going to try undergoing treatment – which involved a lumpectomy, 5 rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Even though the treatments would be very hard on her, she never stopped thinking about her family. She wanted to stay strong for them.

The chemo was really rough and when you’re going through treatment, you don’t want to show how you really feel because you don’t want them to worry. So, I tried to hide a lot of how I was feeling.
Cindy, surrounded by her family at a kitchen table.
Cindy and her family

Creating memories with a community for the holidays

It was difficult to leave her home, family and friends for the emotional support for the treatments. Thankfully, the community at Lodge that Gives was there for her.

In order to receive her treatment, Cindy had to travel to Halifax. At first, she stayed in hotels overnight, but was often very lonely. While speaking with a patient navigator, however, she learned about the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) Lodge that Gives – a home away from home for people affected by cancer who must travel for their treatments.

She was able to receive accommodations and was delighted at how quickly it felt like a second home. She remembers being greeted with kindness and empathy from the staff, which made a big difference for her. Put at ease at the lodge, she was able to make happy memories during the holiday season.

Being able to stay at the lodge during the holiday season enhanced my holiday experience. The transportation from the lodge into the city was very accessible. It allowed me to get more Christmas shopping done. And being able to see the holiday lights and music made everything more cheerful.

For Cindy’s family, knowing she wasn’t alone during the holiday season and was able to participate in activities with the other community members gave them a big sense of relief.

“Knowing that my mom felt so at home throughout her stay at the lodge was extremely gratifying for both me and my father,” says Shaylyn, Cindy’s daughter. “After going to stay with her for one night, I was blown away by how incredible this place was. Seeing how big of a support system she had was so reassuring.”

Cindy was no longer alone for the holiday season, and she found people to confide in who understood her struggles, even when the treatments seemed like they were too much too bear. Now, she hopes anyone who makes a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society knows how they are helping others navigate difficult experiences.

“I wish that more people could see the impact that they can make. By donating, you can help people impacted by cancer have more moments of happiness and peace.”

This season, make a donation to champion world-leading outcomes in cancer prevention, treatment and support, so more Canadians can have a community to turn to when they need it most.