The Canadian Cancer Society said its decision to close community offices across the country, including in Williams Lake, is part of a broader change for the organization.
When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in March of 2020 the CCS announced 50 of its community-based offices in Canada would not be reopening after the pandemic.
The Williams Lake community office, which had been operating on a $200 annual budget out of an office at the Williams Lake Seniors Activity Centre, was included in the closures, as longtime CCS community office lead Leeyann Allan lamented in a recent Tribune story.
Sara Oates, CCS executive vice president of finance, technology and operations, told the Tribune the organization is extremely grateful for the work that’s happened over the years in Williams Lake in keeping volunteers and community members connected with up-to-date cancer information and support services.
“We’re going through quite a period of transformational change as we increase our ability to support cancer research and Canadians affected by cancer,” Oates said.
“Like a lot of other organizations we are leveraging digital technologies to reach more people and to expand our programs and events … as we increase our use of digital strategies we are changing our office footprint.”
The office in Williams Lake also offered wigs and prosthetics free of charge, which will now be available online through the CCS’s website.
The Kordyban Lodge in Prince George remains the closest CCS support lodge for residents in Williams Lake.
Oates encourages anyone impacted by cancer to also make use of its help line at 1-888-939-3333, or join its online community at CancerConnection.ca — an outlet for people with cancer and their loved ones to share their experiences and build relationships through live chats, and support from trained professionals.
“I can certainly understand peoples’ reaction to a situation like this (closing community offices),” Oates said. “Change is always difficult. We’ve definitely appreciated all of the time that local communities have given to support the work of the Canadian Cancer Society and I hope people can continue to be engaged.”
She added the CCS remains committed to the community of Williams Lake and supporting anyone impacted by cancer.