She lost both her parents, her brother and her sister to cancer.

Eileen Haas is the only one in her family who hasn’t had the disease. And four years ago, she decided to do something to help.

She became a canvasser for the Canadian Cancer Society, inviting neighbours into her west-end condo to donate.


“People are always very generous,” she said Tuesday.

Whether they allow donors to come to them or seek donations by knocking on doors, volunteers are crucial to the Canadian Cancer Society’s door-to-door campaign this month, which is Cancer Awareness Month, said the Ottawa unit’s fundraising co-ordinator Christina Danielewski.

Haas is one of more than 2,600 area residents who have taken up 3,000 canvassing routes for the cause.

While that sounds like a lot of ground covered, consider that the Ottawa area has 7,000 routes.

“We’re looking for canvassers continuously,” said Danielewski, who is herself a volunteer. “It’s not too late to sign up.”

The residential canvass pulled in $525,000 in Ottawa last year, and Danielewski is hopeful people will support the cause, even in the face of recession.

“Everyone is affected by cancer,” she said. “Two in five Canadians will be affected by cancer at least once in their lifetimes.”

But 62 per cent of those people will survive, thanks to research and medical advances, she said.

It’s because of fundraisers like the canvass campaign that the cancer society is able to raise money for the research that saves lives, and the peer support, transportation and advocacy programs that improve quality of life and raise awareness of symptoms that Canadians are learning to look for, said Danielewski.

“And the money raised in Ottawa stays in Ottawa,” she said. “People are making a difference in their own community.”

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