Linda Lazare

Cancer Society celebrates 75th

To celebrate the anniversary, the Campbell River chapter is holding a dinner and dance on Saturday, April 6

Cancer survivor Linda Lazare celebrates every day, but even she gets pumped up for a big dance.

“I can’t wait. It’s going to be fun,” says the president of the Campbell River chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society.

April is Cancer Awareness Month and this year also marks the 75th anniversary of the Canadian Cancer Society.

To celebrate the anniversary, the local chapter is holding a dinner and dance on Saturday, April 6, at the Eagles Hall.

But if you want to go, you need to get your tickets this weekend at the Eagles.

“I’m hoping a lot of volunteers go because it’s volunteers who make this society,” says Lazare.

This is her 16th year volunteering with the local society which, last year on Vancouver Island alone, gave more than 26,000 rides to treatment for local cancer patients, provided accommodation for 1,688 clients, and paid $95,760 in financial support for 155 clients.

“We have over 220,000 volunteers across Canada. That’s why were able to offer all the services we do,” she says.

Lazare is encouraged by the increasing survival rates for cancer patients and the declining rates for some types of cancer.

But this has been a difficult year for her.

On Jan. 2, she lost a good friend when Al Hodgkinson of Campbell River died at age 79.

He was a key advocate for prostate awareness after having survived prostate cancer himself.

“He was my hero,” she says with a sad smile.

Lazare also leads by example. She has survived two rounds of breast cancer and reconstructive surgery.

“Both types were completely unrelated. I couldn’t believe it,” she says.

“The first time…it was really aggressive. My doctor told me I had less than a 50 per cent chance to live and that I should get my affairs in order.”

Lazare pauses as the old and not-very-nice memories are rekindled, “You know, who says that to a person? I’m a fighter and I was going to fight!”

She’s won two wars now and for 16 years she’s been fighting for everyone else who has cancer.

“We have amazing medical services…and a positive outlook helps so much too – I enjoy every day.”

And speaking of entertainment, next Saturday’s dance features a roast beef buffet dinner, trivia, silent auction and dancing to the live music of The Impalas.

Tickets are $30 and $55 per couple. They’re available this weekend only at the Eagles Hall on 14th Avenue.