Participants warm up for an InspireHealth’s fundraiser walk. The organization is holding a free workshop for people with a cancer diagnosis in Campbell River on Feb. 27.

InspireHealth workshop in Campbell River supports those with cancer

The free event takes place at Berwick by the Sea on Feb. 2

A cancer diagnosis can be life-changing. To help, an organization called InspireHealth works with people on how best to care for themselves.

Later this month, a couple of the members, Dr. Lori McFarlane, a physician, and Erin Roman, a registered dietitian, will be holding a free supportive cancer care workshop for people in Campbell River.

InspireHealth’s team is made up of clinical counsellors, exercise therapists, physicians, dietitians and nutritionists to provide “person-based” care, to cater treatment to each patient. This can include working with patients’ family doctors, oncologists, offering cooking classes to promote necessary nutrition, or providing yoga or meditation – in other words, ways to support quality of life.

“The people that come to these workshops, they can be before, during or after treatment, so it really ranges how people are feeling,” says Eva Yan, another dietician who works for InspireHealth.

The event takes place Feb. 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Berwick by the Sea retirement community at 1353 16th Ave. The topics will be the foundations of health and healing; nutrition; and self-care.

InspireHealth is a non-profit supportive cancer care organization that provides free clinical services and programs to people facing a diagnosis of cancer. From its office based in Victoria, InspireHealth’s service includes one-one-one telephone or video conferencing for patients on Vancouver Island.

McFarlane graduated from the University of Waterloo in health studies and received her Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Western Ontario. She completed her family medicine residency at UBC and practiced full-service family medicine in Vancouver. In 2008, she moved to Denman Island and continued to practise family medicine in Courtenay.

“She talks about the pillars of health and wellness, the foundation … the process of healing,” Yan says.

Roman graduated from St. Francis Xavier University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in human nutrition. She is a registered dietitian and works primarily in community settings focusing on food security and traditional foods practices. She will focus on helping to sort through health information available to make sure people are actually eating to support their treatment.

“She’ll also talk about mindful eating and how that’s important too,” Yan says.

InspireHealth wants to make sure the environment is safe and supportive for people facing cancer, and there will be a chance for people to share their stories as part of the workshop. They also emphasize that people need not come alone.

“Support people are welcome to come too,” she says. “That could be even a friend.”

InspireHealth was founded by Roger Rogers and Hal Gunn, two medical doctors in 1997 in Vancouver and has three centres in B.C., including Victoria. It is supported by the provincial Ministry of Health, but the organization holds fundraisers, such as an annual walk planned for Victoria on March 9.

People interested in attending the Feb. 27 workshop in Campbell River should register by Feb. 22 by calling 1-250-595-7125. This workshop is open to all adults (16 years +) with a current or past cancer diagnosis as well as support people. People should bring their own lunch and water bottle to the workshop. For more information, see the InspireHealth website at

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