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Giving back

New podcast helps blood cancer survivors share hope

Dec 22, 2020

Tiffany Woodworth was enjoying a working holiday in New Zealand four years ago when she began to feel unwell.

Just 28 at the time, Woodworth’s plans for travel and adventure were cut short when she was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer called Hodgkin Lymphoma, and forced to return home for treatment.

“The doctors tell you how lucky you are to have Hodgkin Lymphoma because it has such a good cure rate and the chemo is really quick. But lucky is not at all what you feel when you’re diagnosed because, regardless of what type it is, it’s still cancer,” Woodworth revealed in a podcast series launched earlier this year by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada.

The podcast was made possible through a grant from the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, which exists to empower youth-in-need through access to technology, health, and education programs. Driven by belief that all children should have the chance to reach their full potential, TELUS launched the Foundation in 2018 with a $120 million endowment  — the largest donation by a publicly traded Canadian company and one of the largest in North America. Since then, the foundation supports over 2 million Canadian youth annually, building a brighter future for kids who need it most through our support of local, grassroots charities.

For the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the podcast is a perfect fit with its goals. It acts as a vital resource for young Canadians affected by blood cancer to “enable connection, validate feelings and difficulties experienced, and create a sense of being better understood,” said Nadine Prévost, Director of Community Services for the society. 

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Critically, it allows the society to continue its life-saving outreach during COVID-19, which has forced the suspension of in-person group support meetings. Featured topics to date include long-term side effects of cancer and treatments, relapse anxiety, and effective communication with family and friends. 

“Thank you to the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation for not neglecting this group of people with difficult challenges of their own,” said Prevost. 

During her podcast episode, Woodworth shared several coping methods she discovered as she underwent treatment, including keeping a journal to record all of her medical appointments, what she ate, what she couldn’t eat, and how she was feeling — both mentally and physically.

She also was active in online chat rooms, sharing her experience with and learning from other cancer patients her own age.

Woodworth said she was already an adventurous person at the time of her diagnosis and what she went through only made her appreciate life more than ever. She encourages anyone going through a similar health crisis to appreciate every day.

She also shared one more important message to those who have been newly diagnosed. 

“One thing I would have loved to have known was, ‘Hey, you have Hodgkin Lymphoma and you’re going to be okay. This is just a speed bump in your life."

In addition to the Friendly Future Foundation’s support of grassroot initiatives and charities across Canada, TELUS is also dedicated to building stronger, healthier communities, and helping those who need support the most. The TELUS team has generously contributed $1.3 billion in value, time, and financial support to Canadian charities and grassroots organizations since 2000 including $736 million and 1.4 million days of volunteerism, making TELUS one of the most giving companies in the world.

To learn more about TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, eligibility criteria and how to apply for funding, please visit friendlyfuture.com.

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