LETTERS: Speaking out

My hope in writing this to you is that the community will speak out in support.

For almost 10 years I have been a very active volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society. My time there has been a very rewarding experience for me and I love what I do.

In the spring of 2011 we moved our office to a new location at 101 – 166 Main St. I was part of the discussion  with our new landlord along with our regional director in Kelowna. Although not in our written contract, we did have a verbal commitment from our landlord that a lift would be installed to make our office handicap accessible.

Despite numerous pleas, after three and  a half years, we still have no lift and are unable to serve people who cannot make it up the steep stairs.  We have had to turn clients away.

In a recent incident, one of our volunteers served a client looking for a wig out on the street. The stress of chemotherapy treatment is difficult enough without having to endure the loss of privacy during a very private and intimate undertaking.

Since moving to this location, due to health issues, I now find myself in a position of having limited mobility and am no longer able to make it up the stairs.  This means I must do my volunteer work from home on my computer and by phone. This is unacceptable to me. Other volunteers are also impacted by the lack of the promised lift.

We have one and half years left on our lease, unless our landlord is willing to let us out of the lease with no financial loss to us since he has not acted on his promise of installing a lift. As a charitable society that helps to make the lives of those living with cancer and going through chemo and/or radiation treatments better, we find ourselves in the position of being unable to do this.  Many recent attempts to contact our landlord have been fruitless. This has become a very serious problem for us.

People who are going through cancer treatments need our help during a time when they can be very ill. We need to be able to service all cancer patients not just some of them.  We also need all our volunteers to have access to our office.  My hope in writing this to you is that the community will speak out in support of us and our landlord will either install a lift for us or let us out of our lease so we can look for office space that is handicap accessible.

Marlene Gawley,

Penticton Unit Past President,


Canadian Cancer Society