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 WICWC does not receive government funding and relies on voluntary donations from corporations, foundations, individuals in the community and fundraisers.
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 emotional, physical and spiritual needs.
All our programs and services are free of charge and are created to fulfill the need for Psychosocial cancer care and to complement traditional medical practices. Through our wellness programs, participants will receive personal support, gain coping mechanisms, discover additional alternatives, and become better educated about their specific illness. We will help them gain more control of their lives, find strength, reduce feelings of isolation, and continue to foster hope, regardless of the stage of their disease.
In 2018, the WICWC launched, phase 1, of its National initiative called Live Well with Cancer Network (LWWCN) , a phoneline offering support, referral and information service, in response to the voiced need. In 2020, phase 2 was launched that included remote access to our Cancer Wellness Virtual programming, which is open to all Canadians living with cancer ( Registration into the Centre is required to promote safety- to request registration proceed to the Registration tab). And in 2022, we launch our rural Canada and Indigenous outreach.
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)
What an incredible year 2016 was for the WICWC! We successfully raised $3 million dollars during our Capital Campaign and built a brand NEW, beautiful building to help more people living with cancer. None of this would’ve been possible without the amazing support we received from our community. When we say “The House the Community Built” we truly mean it. We couldn’t have done it without the incredible donations we received, the support from the locals surrounding the land where we reside, the people who told everyone about the NEW Big Yellow House & helped us spread awareness, health professionals who continue to tell their patients about our new centre, the local media who helped get us donations and also spread awareness, and the list goes on. Our registrations went up by 150% in the first few months after we moved in, we have increased our programming hours and the number of volunteers who have submitted applications to help has increased significantly.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support. – The WICWC team
Everyone who’s been involved in the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre since we opened our doors has lived through so much: fear, hope, pride, sadness, peace, laughter, friendship, excitement, and fun. After opening in October 2009, we grew from a dream to a reality and now we are a NEED. The community, the health care field and incredible donors have embraced our mission and consider us a necessary complementary service toward the fight against cancer.
Our centre has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds. We began in a small little farmhouse in Beaconsfield with very few participants and a limited number of hours in programming. Since then we have supported, educated and empowered thousands of people in the West Island and surrounding areas. Every month we offer over 900 hours of programs that our participants can experience (and this number continues to grow). In December of 2015 we officially launched our $3 million dollar Capital Campaign to build a bigger facility. By April 2016, construction began and in October 2016, we moved into to our NEW home. In the first 4 months of operation of this new home, our registrations increased by 150%.
We definitely see a future of continued growth and our hope is that our message continues to get across that we are THE place to turn to when someone is diagnosed with cancer and that health professionals keep us top of mind when discussing treatment options with their patients.
The heart of WICWC lives in Kirkland, but the soul lives in all of those who contribute to our success. These people would include our amazing staff, phenomenal group of volunteers and financial contributors. 100% of the funds received are used solely for the advancement of the Centre and the care of our participants.
We look forward to what lies ahead for the WICWC!
Wishing you wellness,
Debbie Magwood, MEd., OPQ
Founder, Executive Director