West Island Cancer Wellness Centre celebrates its 10th Anniversary


The West Island Cancer Wellness Centre (WICWC) turned 10 years old last week. The group is marking the milestone birthday with a celebration and the launch of the “Living Well with Cancer Network” information line.

The rate at which new cancers are diagnosed is rising. One in two Canadians is expected to develop cancer in their lifetime and 60 per cent is expected to survive for five years or more following diagnosis. “People are searching for programs to help them live well with cancer. The WICWC has been offering these programs free of charge to people in Montreal and surrounding areas for ten years,” said Debbie Magwood, Founder and Executive Director, WICWC. “The Network will allow us to help anyone with cancer find psychosocial care resources available in their communities, regardless of where they live.”

The Network is a comprehensive compilation of cancer wellness resources. Anyone seeking information on how to improve their health and well-being while living with cancer can call 514-695-9355 (local calls) or 1-833-274-9355 (long distance calls) weekdays between 8:30 am and 4 pm. The WICWC can offer this important service thanks to a generous donation from the Trottier Family Foundation.

The WICWC opened its doors in 2008 in what was known as the ‘little yellow house’ in Beaconsfield. The need for its services rose quickly and it soon outgrew the house. After a successful capital campaign, the WICWC built and moved into its new home, the “big yellow house”, in Kirkland in 2016. It now offers upwards of 1600 program hours per month including fitness classes, support groups, nutritional cooking, yoga, meditation, massage therapy and more. Its programs are open to men, women, and children of all ages, regardless of the type of cancer, where they reside or where they are receiving treatment.

Gisele Seto is a Thai Massage & Myofascial Release Specialist and a Yoga Therapist at the WICWC since 2014. She is one of more than 60 certified professionals who offer private treatments and/or group classes at the center on a volunteer basis. Gisele registered for WICWC's programs when she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. “I never felt sad, depressed nor isolated during my cancer journey because all the wonderful professionals at the center boosted me every step of the way,” said Gisele. “I benefitted from copious amounts of mental, physical and spiritual support. The WICWC is a safe space for self-discovery and expression, as well as a home away from home. After being nurtured there, I knew in a heartbeat that my life purpose would be to share back all that love and care."

The 10th Anniversary celebration was a community event where ice cream was graciously offered by Andrea Katz, Century 21 Royal Prestige and Pickerell’s Mobile Ice Cream. Video editing services for the anniversary was provided by Live City Montreal and music by Tux Productions. The WICWC is a registered Canadian charity that does not receive government or Centraide funding. It relies on the generosity of foundations, corporations and the community to continue to offer its services and programs at no cost. For more information, visit: www.wicwc.org.

About the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre

The West Island Cancer Wellness Centre (WICWC) is a registered charity dedicated to offering compassionate care and support to anyone experiencing cancer – either having it themselves or supporting someone with cancer. It was founded in response to the demand for a whole-person integrated approach to wellness. Its programs and services focus on improving the health and well-being of people living with cancer by addressing their emotional, physical and spiritual needs. They are free of charge, fulfill the need for psychosocial cancer care and complement traditional medical practices.

Through the Centre’s wellness programs, participants receive personal support, gain coping mechanisms, discover additional alternatives, and become better educated about their specific illness. They are helped to gain more control of their lives, find strength, reduce feelings of isolation, and continue to foster hope, regardless of the stage of their disease.