Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for January 7, 2013

Cancer office closure prompts meeting

A former Yukon commissioner is hoping a meeting she’s organized for Tuesday night may lead to the Canadian Cancer Society keeping its Yukon office opened.

By Stephanie Waddell on January 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

Pictured Above: GERALDINE VAN BIBBER

A former Yukon commissioner is hoping a meeting she’s organized for Tuesday night may lead to the Canadian Cancer Society keeping its Yukon office opened.

“Cancer touches so many people,” Geraldine Van Bibber said in an interview this morning.

Van Bibber, who recently became the chancellor at Yukon College, has organized tomorrow’s meeting for 7 p.m. at the Westmark Whitehorse Hotel.

She will be looking for “some direction” on how to help keep the local office open.

She’s also hoping it will send a message to the society’s Vancouver office about the importance of having a Whitehorse office.

Last month, the cancer society announced it will close its 211 Wood St. office when the lease expires on May 31 due to economics.

Support programs and services for the territory will be handled through the Vancouver office.

“This was a difficult decision that was based on unpredictable economic times and the need for our charity to live within its means,” CEO Barb Kaminsky said at the time.

“We have made these changes to reduce administrative costs and maximize our ability to continue to provide leading cancer prevention initiatives, trusted information and compassionate support programs to Yukoners.”

Van Bibber said it feels as though the Yukon has been “shunted to the side.

“It’s so impersonal,” she said.

Having someone in place locally helps ensure annual events and programs happen, and that the work of the many volunteers who organize the programs and services is supported.

As a volunteer with the society, Van Bibber said all her experiences with the local office – including with a number of different people in the position of administrator – have been positive.

Volunteers do a huge amount of work in organizing events for the community that help raise funds for cancer research.

However, having a local office and a staffer there gives the volunteers the support they need and helps ensure the society’s message is taken to the rest of the community.

“They do some great work for the community,” Van Bibber said of the fund-raising initiatives like the Relay for Life, among others.

Van Bibber said she doesn’t know how many people to expect at tomorrow’s meeting.

She noted she’s heard from 15 who plan to attend, and she is grateful for the support from the community.

The Westmark, for instance, has donated the meeting room and coffee service for the meeting.

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