Investing close to home
knows that walking through the Tom Baker Cancer Centre doors for the first time is not an easy thing to do. She took those steps of her own in 1987 when she was diagnosed with stage 1 uterine cancer, and over the years has tried to ease the cancer journey for those following in her footsteps.
When May’s oncologist, Dr. Gavin Stuart, declared her cancer-free 25 years ago, she asked him how she could help. He simply told her, “Get involved.”
Get involved, she did. May first started volunteering at the hospital’s gynecology clinic, where she stayed for 15 years. Then when her husband, Bill, retired from his accounting career, they started travelling so May couldn’t make the same volunteer commitment. Yet, she now fills in at the outpatient daycare and almost every clinic at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre when she is in Calgary.
“It’s really important to be there and welcome patients as they come in,” says May. “If I can ease the transition and make that day just a bit easier for one person, it’s worth it.”
May didn’t stop there. Soon she became directly involved with the Alberta Cancer Foundation, selling tickets for Playing for Life concerts and as an annual donor since 1991. Their donation meant even more when Bill was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005 and went through radiation treatment at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. They also left the Alberta Cancer Foundation in their will.
“We really wanted our donation to stay in Alberta, that was very important to us,” says May. “We are fortunate to have such world-class facilities in this province and if our hope is that we start diagnosing earlier and treating earlier--we recognize that money is needed to do that research so we can get there.
“People aren’t always aware of what they can do for research in Alberta—this is how we can make a difference for the next generation, right here at home.”
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