The House the Community Built
The West Island Cancer Wellness Centre is situated on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka (Mohawk), a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst many First Nations including the Kanien’kehá:ka of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Huron/Wendat, Abenaki, and Anishinaabeg. We recognize and respect the Kanien’kehà:ka as the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we meet today.
The West Island Cancer Wellness Centre (WICWC) is a registered charity dedicated to offering compassionate care and support to anyone experiencing cancer – either having it themselves or supporting someone with cancer. We exist in response to the demand for a whole-person integrated approach to wellness that focuses on improving the health and well-being of people living with cancer by addressing their physical, spiritual, emotional, informational, social, systemic, and practical needs, also known as the 7 pillars of cancer wellness.
Our free wellness programs complement traditional medical practices and offer personal support, coping mechanisms, education, and hope to those with cancer, helping them gain control, strength, and reduce isolation.
*The WICWC does not receive government funding and relies on voluntary donations from corporations, foundations, individuals in the community and fundraisers.
Who we are
Vision: To become recognized as a leader in cancer wellness.
• To be “top of mind” as the place to turn to when cancer affects your life.
• Provide innovative, integrative therapies and reliable resources & information on intervention and preventive cancer care.
• Petition health practitioners and educate the public on the necessity for psychosocial care as part of the cancer continuum.
• Sustainable financing to address the cancer crisis in Quebec and continue to provide people living with cancer, the benefits of a whole-person integrated approach to wellness.
The WICWC provides Psychosocial1 Cancer Care to anyone living with any type of cancer. Traditional medical professionals focus on treating the cancer, whereas all our programs and services address the emotional (mind), physical (body) and spiritual (spirit) challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis. From the moment a participant walks through our doors they get a warm welcome, find personal support and go on to become empowered, active participants in the management of their health and well-being.
Not too long ago, this centre was simply a dream for Debbie Magwood, Executive Director of the WICWC. As a Clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience counseling, sharing her expertise through lectures and a first-hand personal experience with cancer, her vision was to create a centre that would provide psychosocial care and improve the health and well-being of people living with cancer. That dream came to a reality in June 2008 when the WICWC was officially registered as a charity.
After many months of renovations, volunteer help from the community and the development of programs and fundraising initiatives, the doors of the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre were officially opened (June 2008).
1. Psychosocial Cancer Care: While the physical symptoms of cancer are addressed with medical treatment, the emotional impact of the disease and treatment is often overlooked. A diagnosis of cancer impacts the whole person and their family. Therefore, pyschosocial care involves a whole-person approach to cancer care that addresses a range of human needs that can improve or optimize the best possible quality of life for individuals and their networks affected by cancer. – The Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO)
The WICWC had an incredible year in 2016, raising $3 million during their Capital Campaign to build a new building for people living with cancer. The community played a huge role in this success, with donations, support, and spreading awareness. The new center has seen a 150% increase in registrations, expanded programming hours, and a significant increase in volunteer applications.
None of this would’ve been possible without the amazing support we received from our community. We couldn’t have done it without you!
It has been a privilege to serve as the Executive Director for the past 15 years. The success of WICWC is due to our ability to fulfill a crucial need by providing outstanding and professional services and support to people with cancer. People living with cancer receive outstanding and professional services and support, which helps them feel empowered. We are grateful to those who have entrusted their wellness to us, the volunteers who offer their expertise and time, and the generosity of our donors.
Wishing you wellness,
Debbie Magwood, MEd., OPQ
Founder, Executive Director