Local resident honoured by Cancer Society

Delila Chenery, a lung cancer survivor, has volunteered with the CancerConnection program for seven years.

Cache Creek resident Delila Chenery (second from l) received the Canadian Cancer Society’s Medal of Courage at a ceremony in Vancouver last month. Also pictured (from l): Sheila Craigie

Cache Creek resident Delila Chenery (second from l) received the Canadian Cancer Society’s Medal of Courage at a ceremony in Vancouver last month. Also pictured (from l): Sheila Craigie

Cache Creek resident, and CancerConnection volunteer, Delila Chenery has been selected to receive the Canadian Cancer Society’s most prestigious volunteer award, the Medal of Courage.

Chenery, who moved to Cache Creek with her husband Helmut in August 2015, is a lung cancer survivor who has been volunteering with the CancerConnection program for seven years. The program connects cancer survivors with those who have just been diagnosed with cancer or are undergoing cancer treatment, allowing them to speak with someone who has been through what they are experiencing.

Chenery says that when she was diagnosed with lung cancer she was put in touch with the CancerConnection service. “I had great service. The lady I spoke with didn’t just sympathize, she empathized. It was nice to have a chance to speak with someone who’d been through it. It gave me hope, since the survival rate for lung cancer is very low.”

Sheila Craigie, the CancerConnection coordinator for BC/Yukon and Alberta/NWT, says that people are referred to the telephone-based program by medical staff, or get in touch personally. Callers are matched as closely as possible with cancer survivors whose experiences reflect what the caller is going through.

“It’s quite different to talk with someone who’s been through it, as opposed to family and friends,” says Craigie. “It brings a different level to it when someone knows about it firsthand.”

There are about 150 people providing the service province-wide, and Craigie notes that while volunteers such as Chenery do not give medical advice, they are able to listen and speak from personal experience. “It makes such a difference to people who use the program. You often hear people say it really turned things around for them.”

Chenery echoes this sentiment. “People are dealing with a lot of fear. I get them right after their diagnosis, when they’ve just started treatment or are about to start. I call them on a regular basis and can talk to them about their treatment and side effects.

“The people who get connected with me are people who are going through the same treatment as me. The program tries to match people very closely with the type of cancer and treatment they have.”

She says that some people just want to talk to a survivor who’s been through it. “You let them know what you did, how you dealt with it. It’s mostly about talking to them, giving them feedback, letting them make up their own minds. If I’m not the right person, then I’ll direct them to where they can get help and support. I’m kind of an info centre.”

Chenery says she gets frustrated when people say that only 23 per cent of money donated to the Canadian Cancer Society goes to research. “There’s a lot more to cancer then just research. The treatment of cancer is a huge business.”

The press release accompanying news of Chenery’s Medal of Courage presentation states that she has “demonstrated exceptional courage in [her] battle with cancer, and in doing so has served as a role model to others. Serving 57 clients in the seven years she has been a volunteer, Delila works with clients with lung cancer, providing them with support over the phone, often until the end of their lives.”

Ashcroft’s Marjorie McLean, who has known Chenery for more than 30 years, says her friend has been volunteering for different organizations since she was 18 years old. “She’s a very giving, warm person, and a very happy person. She gives that to other people.

“She didn’t even want to be recognized [by the Canadian Cancer Society]. She doesn’t think that what she does is exceptional; she thinks that the people she’s helping should be recognized for what they’re going through.”

Chenery handles three or four connections at a time, and admits that “It can be hard on you. You talk to someone a couple of times a week, and build up a connection with them, in more ways than just being an information bureau. It can be demanding. When I go through a tough time I’ll tell [CancerConnection staff] that I need to back off, and they’re very understanding.”

Although she is originally from the prairies, and more recently Abbotsford, Chenery says that she’s glad to have moved to Cache Creek. “I just love it here, and have always felt right at home here. I love the heat and the wide open spaces. As soon as I get north of Spences Bridge I feel like I’m home.”

She adds that she will continue her work with the CancerConnection program. “I’ll keep doing it as long as it’s feasible for me. I want to pass this on to people. It’s necessary for them to have a source of information.”

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

The Desert Daze Music Festival is doggone good fun, as shown in this photo from the 2019 festival, and it will be back in Spences Bridge this September. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
‘Best Little Fest in the West’ returning to Spences Bridge

Belated 10th anniversary Desert Daze festival going ahead with music, vendors, workshops, and more

Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay
Study asks for public input to show actual Internet speeds in BC communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

A 50-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle Tuesday, June 15, crashing through a West Vancouver school fence that surrounds playing children. (West Vancouver Police)
Driver ticketed for speeding near B.C. school crashes into playground fence days later

‘It’s an absolute miracle that nobody was injured,’ says Const. Kevin Goodmurphy

Dr. Réka Gustafson, who is British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer, speaks during a news conference in Vancouver on April 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. public health officials prepare to manage COVID-19 differently in the future

Flu-like? Health officials anticipate shift from pandemic to communicable disease control strategies

Most Read