In Our Stories, we reflect on the history of Friends for Life and the impact that this house has had on hundreds of client-members, staff, volunteers and friends in our 25 year history.
In the News
Here, as she approaches her 50th birthday, one of our client-members and friends reflects on the strength she drew from Friends for Life since her diagnosis of breast cancer.
'I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2013 (I think). It's funny I feel like I should remember that date but I don't. I do remember that I was taking care of children at the time and I was with two of the boys in my care. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were on our way to the ice skating rink. My doctor called me and said "Well, the results came back and it's like we thought.." and that's how I received the news. One of the children’s grandmothers had been diagnosed with breast cancer years prior and she was a member of Friends For Life. She told me about 'the house' and after some coaxing I looked into also joining.
I became much more than just a member of Friends For Life. I would have my radiation therapy daily and then come for brunch. The stories others would tell and their laughter gave me strength. I had six surgeries in two years and during all of these trials and tribulations Friends for Life has been there for me. I treat myself to weekly massage and naturopath appointments and have had counselling and reiki as well as meditation there as well. I have taken cooking classes and knitting classes. Some of my friends from Friends For Life have passed. Two of my dear friends last year died within months of each other. Both were in their early 40’s. How I loved going to Friends for Life's drag queen bingo with them at Celebrities! It was while at Friends For Life that I got the call that my mother had passed away.
I take art classes at the house and we go on kayaking excursions and hikes. I have Christmas dinners there. Last May I fell and had my mouth wired shut due to a broken jaw. For six weeks I was unable to eat solids and would come to Friends For Life and they would serve me soup that I would drink through a straw. Friends For Life is my home. Friends For Life is the only thing that I have left that reminds me of the friends and family whom I have loved and some of whom lI have lost. Friends for Life saved my life.
We had a memorial service for a dear friend at the house. I would never have met him if not for such a magnificent, healing place. I donated in his name to the very worthy cause. Did you know that a $60 donation can feed 20 people brunch at the house? 20 people! Imagine. I knew that would make him so proud.
When donating to Friends For Life you are not just saving someone's life but enriching the life that they have. With the love and support of others who too have been diagnosed with either Cancer, Hepatitis C or HIV, there’s a place for people to mend.
This month I will be celebrating my 50th birthday. I am forever in debt to Friends For Life and the volunteers and practitioners therein. I am honoured to be asked to tell you my story.'