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OUR HOMETOWN: Pharmacist says helping the community is rewarding

Cynthia Bolt, the pharmacy manager at FreshCo’s location, moved back to Williams Lake in 2018
Your friendly neighbourhood pharmacist, Cynthia Bolt, at the pharmacy in FreshCo where she works as manager. Feb. 2024. (Kim Kimberlin photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

With roots in the Cariboo, Cynthia Bolt was happy to return to Williams Lake after over 10 years of working as a pharmacist in the Lower Mainland.

“I’m a small-town girl, too, so I always felt that pull to come back here,” said Bolt.

Bolt was born and raised in Williams Lake, attending elementary school in 150 Mile House, middle school at the Williams Lake campus and then high school at Columneetza, where the honour roll student graduated in 1997.

She took a year of undergraduate courses at the College of the Cariboo before heading to the University of Victoria, where she completed her bachelor of science, majoring in biology and minoring in psychology. She always had an interest in the medical field, she said.

After a year off, she headed back to the mainland and began another bachelor of science degree at the University of British Columbia, this time in pharmacy. To her delight, her sister, Jennifer, also got into the program, and the two siblings lived together again while completing the pharmacy program.

While Bolt was still in school, she began working as a pharmacy assistant at a Safeway pharmacy in Abbotsford, giving her hands-on experience. After she graduated in 2006, she took on a full-time position at the Safeway pharmacy in South Surrey.

In 2013, her son was born, and Bolt began the juggle of working full-time while raising her son, Ayden, even more full-time as a single parent. After her maternity leave ended, she was able to send him to a friend’s daycare. Still, she missed home and could use her family’s help.

In 2018, a pharmacy manager position opened at (then) Safeway, which brought Bolt and her son up to Williams Lake. She’s been there ever since, including holding out through the construction phase when Safeway became FreshCo.

“I really enjoy it,” Bolt said of her job. “I like interacting with people every day. I really love building those relationships.” Bolt noted that in a smaller community, these relationships can especially deepen as she finds herself out and about with others, whether attending her son’s soccer games or seeing patients elsewhere.

“I find it very rewarding.”

There have been changes to Bolt’s job, most recently the government allowing pharmacists to prescribe, something that was a quick learning curve for pharmacists, Bolt explained, but has helped “fill in some of the gaps of not having a doctor.”

Pharmacists can prescribe antibiotics and medications for bladder infections, allergies and skin conditions, as well as prescribe birth control.

“I do feel it’s really advancing our profession as pharmacists to be able to do that (prescribe). It’s taking another step forward.”

Bolt commended the pharmacists in this community for their work and how they’ve stepped up to compensate for the doctor shortages.

When Bolt isn’t working, she’s enjoying time with her son and family. Her mother, Lynn (a former long-term employee at the Williams Lake Tribune), helps watch Ayden. Bolt enjoys reading, walking the family dog, Sadie, and travelling. Though she hasn’t been able to do as much international travel as she did in her younger years, she wants to travel more in the future, as does her son, who has the travel bug, too.

Kim Kimberlin, Local Journalism Initiative

About the Author: Kim Kimberlin, Local Journalism Initiative

I joined Black Press Media in 2022, and have a passion for covering topics on women’s rights, 2SLGBTQIA+ and racial issues, mental health and the arts.
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