Over 150 health care professionals who work in cancer related fields attended the annual Community Oncology Professional Education Workshop (COPE), hosted by Regional Cancer Care Northwest and held in Thunder Bay on May 2 and 3, 2019. The event focused on safety in the treatment of cancer, highlighting everything from cultural awareness, and malnutrition in cancer, to oncologic emergencies, and concurrent treatments. One of the highlights of this year’s event was a showcase of local research and quality improvement initiatives in Cancer Care.
“We were thrilled to have 11 adjudicated poster presentations from diverse cancer-related health care professionals at our Hospital,” said Andrea Docherty, Director of Regional Cancer Care Northwest. Karen Melenchuk, Oncofertility Registered Nurse at the Hospital, and her research team earned the top spot for their research in expanding urgent oncofertility services for reproductive aged women. “Thanks to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and the Susan Cameron Endowment Fund, Karen and her team were awarded $500.00 in the first ever Susan Cameron – Never Stop Learning Award,” said Docherty. The award can be used by the recipients towards continuing professional education.
Susan was well-known to staff at Regional Cancer Care Northwest as she underwent treatment for breast cancer. Her favourite quote was, ‘Today’s a gift; that’s why we call it the present.’ It was a motto she lived by, especially after she was diagnosed. Susan never described cancer as a ‘battle’ though. To her, cancer was a journey that brought good as well as bad. She was a passionate advocate for local cancer care and joined the Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign in its early stages as a Cabinet Member, a position she held until she passed away in 2012.
The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation recognized her dedication to local cancer care by announcing the Susan Cameron Endowment Fund to help Regional Cancer Care Northwest staff with professional development. The family felt extremely touched that she would be recognized in this way.
“It’s a perfect legacy for Susan, to offer support to people who work at the Cancer Centre and want to improve their own patient care skills,” her husband Terry said. “That’s really what Susan strongly believed in – how great the care was that she received. She trusted all the healthcare professionals here in Thunder Bay, and never wanted to go anywhere else for treatment.”