by Rhonda Massad
Two years ago, West Island Cancer Wellness Centre (WICWC) Founder & Executive Director Debbie Magwood and her team made a commitment to halt the waitlists that were growing due to insufficient space at the little yellow house in Beaconsfield. A new and bigger location was needed. A capital campaign goal was set at $3 million and was achieved this week, just in time for the November move to Kirkland.
Construction of the building began in April of this year when the snow was just melting. The final touches and official opening of the new centre are expected to be held just as the cool weather returns at the beginning of November. The Kirkland structure is almost triple in size compared to Beaconsfield that was opened in 2009.
According to statistics published in 2015 by the Canadian Cancer Society, the number of new cancer cases in Canada is expected to rise about 40% in the next 15 years. The larger Centre will provide more space for programs and services required to meet the level of psychosocial care expected.
“This new building will allow us to help so many more families living with cancer. To be placed on a waiting list for our programs was unacceptable. Now, in this bigger building we will be able to offer more services and drastically reduce this as a probability,” said Magwood. “It has been a long two years of planning the campaign, searching for the perfect location, fundraising and now the construction. To be where we are today, having reached our goal and now preparing for our big move, is profoundly heartwarming. One of our biggest challenges now is living up to my promise that this new centre will have the same warm feel and sense of home as our current centre. I hope we have succeeded.”
Without government or hospital funding, the WICWC relies solely on fundraising to exist. While thrilled to have reached this ambitious Capital Campaign target, Magwood said there is always room for continued generosity: “Our main purpose for building this new Centre is to help even more people living with cancer. However, the cost of operations will rise due to its larger size, so we must continue to fundraise as we always have.”
The Centre is still accepting donations from the community as it prepares for this very exciting transition. The opportunity to be part of the large donor wall and the building’s legacy are still available. Donation for the Legacy Wall can be made on their website (Capital Campaign section), but needs to be done by November 4th 2016.
The Centre will be holding a private Grand Opening (by invite only) followed by an “Open House” on Friday December 9 th from 10 am – 1:00 pm for the public to see the NEW Centre. Follow the centre on Social media and continually check their website for updates.