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Volunteers needed for Duncan’s Relay For Life

Canadian Cancer Society Cowichan volunteer Sheelagh Harman’s hoping her work with the Relay for Life will inspire others to volunteer for the popular fundraising event.  - Ashley Degraaf
Canadian Cancer Society Cowichan volunteer Sheelagh Harman’s hoping her work with the Relay for Life will inspire others to volunteer for the popular fundraising event.
— image credit: Ashley Degraaf

Volunteering in your community should be a no-brainer.

Strictly because the benefits are endless, says Cowichan's Sheelagh Harman, a volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society, Cowichan.

Whether it's students setting up for the society's Relay For Life fundraiser at the Sportsplex and using that experience towards high school graduation volunteering credits, or someone recently diagnosed with cancer shifting focus and staying positive by helping out around the office, lending some time for a community organization is extremely important and valuable to Harman.

Harman has been a volunteer with the society's Relay For Life for many years.

Although she's now currently working for the Canadian Cancer Society as coordinator of Cowichan's door-to-door campaign, which will be in full swing soon, she's still very much involved in helping with the relay fundraiser which taking place May 31.

The Canadian Cancer Society is looking for volunteers to join the Relay For Life Leadership Committee in Cowichan.

The Relay For Life is the biggest cancer fundraising event in Canada. While the Society is always looking for volunteers, it could really use community leaders with great communication, delegation, networking or project management skills who can assist on the Leadership Committee.

For Harman, one of the main reasons she helps a hand is she's had both family members and friends touched by cancer.

"You kind of feel helpless. It makes you feel like I'm doing something," she said from the society's headquarters on Duncan Street.

She's lost three family members and a friend to cancer. Her brother successfully fought two types of cancer and she has friends who are cancer survivors as well.

She also knows a young mom of four children currently battling cancer.

Before she retired, Harman worked 40 plus years in the public sector as a employment councillor where volunteering played a huge role in sessions with clients job hunting.

"I always recommended having volunteer work on your resume," she said.

And the active Cowichan citizen leads by example.

Before the cancer society, she helped out around the Cowichan Theatre, as well as the Heart and Stroke foundation.

"I was knocking on doors for the Heart and Stroke and I went to (the Cowichan Cancer society's Maureen Hydes') door. She said 'You'd be a great.'"

Companionship is also a huge part of why she does it.

That and getting through tough times.

"I keep returning to volunteer for the Society because it is a cause close to my heart – I know they do good work, and provide support to those in my community," she said. "It is gratifying to get involved in any way you can.

"Being a part of the Organizing Committee allowed me to meet some wonderful people: cancer survivors, caregivers, the hundreds of participants in the Relay who raised over $46,000. We had volunteers of all ages come out to the Relay. Local businesses provided food and drinks throughout the night. It was a wonderful experience and great to see so many people come together to celebrate those who have survived, to remember those we had lost, and to help fight back."

Anyone interested in volunteering for the Relay committee is asked to contact Denise Smith at dsmith@bc.cancer.ca.

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