Edita’s Story

Meet Edita - CanCare Volunteer

Audrey had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when Edita was assigned as her CanCare navigator.

At 83, Audrey needed support to transition out of the hospital back home and to manage her ongoing care. Looking back, Edita radiates warmth and admiration as she talks about her friend.

“When I first met Audrey I was struck by her sophistication. She was very switched on and together we learned a lot about how to navigate available support services and make changes that would make her life better.”

A hearing aid was first on the list to help Audrey communicate more easily. Edita also attended all of Audrey’s specialists’ appointments and most of the meetings where practical support from a physio, social worker and other members of the Calvary support team was provided.

“Audrey was handy with technology. We learned to record her chats with specialists and send digital updates to her sister in the UK,” Edita recalls.

After a few months, the two women developed a deep friendship – and it’s the moments in between appointments and shopping trips that Edita remembers most fondly.

“Whenever I went to visit Audrey, her smiling face was waiting for me. I really admired her zest for life. She was an artist and had fantastic talent. Her home was filled with her beautiful paintings,” Edita says.

After Audrey’s transition into palliative care, Edita continued to see her until she passed away in 2019.

Edita says that volunteering with CanCare has provided her with the opportunities she was looking for on retiring from her on retiring from her 41-year career as a chemist in 2018.

“I became a CanCare navigator because I wanted to help people,” says Edita.

“While every navigator-patient relationship is different, it’s always about respecting people where they are at. It’s a wonderful way to connect people who need support with people who want to help.”

Edita now supports another client who enjoys going out for coffee and visiting the library together.

“We just go out and have fun. She says, ‘you are not CanCare, you are my friend’ and that’s just the loveliest compliment.”

Edita says that her time a CanCare navigator has broadened her understanding of what it means to support someone through a cancer diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care.

“You change through each of the experiences. I know that ‘help’ comes in many different forms and if I can be that person for someone else then I’m happy.”

We can’t all volunteer, but we can help in other ways. Your gift will make a real difference to those in need.

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