Never alone

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller.

Myrna Driedger
Myrna Driedger

The Never Alone Foundation is a Canadian registered charitable “grass roots” organization focused on making a difference to patients and caregivers battling cancer. The volunteer board of directors, executive director of the foundation and the dedicated team of volunteers all share one trait and one goal which is the passion to give back to the community and make a positive difference to those fighting cancer.

Lyle Bauer, founding member of the Never Alone Foundation and current co-chair has had his own battle with throat cancer. The same resolve and determination he displayed, as a three-time Grey Cup champion with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was evident in his own successfully fought battle with cancer.

Lyle is currently the president and chief operating officer of the Calgary Stampeders. He continues to support cancer care programs in Manitoba to give back to the community that helped him and his family during his illness.

Several of the Never Alone volunteers are cancer survivors or have been caregivers for a loved one fighting cancer. To date the Foundation has raised over $900,000 for existing cancer care programs and strives to fill gaps having a direct and immediate impact on patients and their families.

People battling cancer know there is the physical battle and then there is the emotional battle. When one is fighting cancer the struggle to feel that one matters in this world and to know that you are not fighting this alone is so key to how one copes with the disease. One can be “book smart” about the disease but until you have lived it you don’t realize the little things that can make a huge impact.

This is where the Never Alone Foundation differentiates themselves. They don’t focus on one aspect such as research. They see cancer as a whole journey – from research, to creating awareness, to personal care for both patient and caregiver and sometimes the end of the journey, which is the transition of life.

Their determination to make all aspects of this journey easier for people living with cancer led them to focus and direct their fundraising efforts not only to enhance current standard cancer care programs but to make it easier to bring a more personal touch to the support of people living or dying with cancer.

Their program has lifted the spirits of so many people who needed to know they were “Never Alone”. The benefits, special care and services they provide includes: quilts that are specifically custom-made for patients, meal care packages, increased awareness of the need for good palliative care programs, contribution to the renovation of both treatment and palliative care rooms encompassing the needs of the whole family, funding of an educational life-size puppet program to travel around schools and teach kids about kids with cancer, and a fishing honorary angler program.

Their fundraising events throughout the year are designed not only to raise much needed funding for programs but to create a day of fun and memories and for a short while an escape from the world of cancer for patients and family caregivers “to cope with hope”.

All funds raised in Manitoba stay in Manitoba. The fundraising goal is to reach the $1million mark, and with the continued support of caring people and sponsors I believe it is an achievable goal. To read more about Lyle Bauer’s own personal battle with cancer, or information on upcoming and past events, and ways you can help and support making a difference please check out the website at http://www.neveralonefoundation.ca.

Myrna Driedger is MLA for Charleswood and deputy leader of the provincial Conservative Party.

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