When Behnaz Bahrami was diagnosed with cancer in December 2008, the treatment she received at the Ottawa Hospital’s cancer centre was “excellent,” she said. “I can’t say enough about it.”
Although she had good support at home and joined a support group, a facility with programs that would have provided her with emotional support, counselling and advice on proper diet and exercise during treatment would have been beneficial, she said.
The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation broke ground on a new facility that will fill those gaps in cancer care Thursday.
“I’ve waited for this day for four years,” said foundation president and CEO Linda Eagen at the launch of the Wellspring Ottawa-Maplesoft Cancer Survivorship Centre. “We are changing the face of cancer care across eastern Ontario. We are going to help people live and live well with cancer.”
Located next to the Cancer Survivors Park, the region’s first centre for cancer survivorship “when complete, will resemble a house that will provide free-of-charge resources to cancer patients, things like counselling, educational resources, training for cancer patients and advanced medical treatment,” said Nepean-Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre.
The centre will also include a fitness centre, said Eagen.
“I suffered the experience of losing a spouse,” said Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Bob Chiarelli.
“What we went through was what a lot of people went through — diagnosis, treatment, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation — but one thing that was missing that is being provided for at the … Wellspring Centre is the non-physical.
“It’s what we need to do for people who have been diagnosed with cancer and their families to be able to tap into their courage, their emotions and psychological well-being to meet the challenge,” he said.