A Note from the CKN Team
Living Well, Dying Well: An Introduction by Pat Taylor
In the cancer community, there are many people keen to talk about finding a cure, or about the experience of living with and/or surviving cancer. We try so hard to stay positive that we end up avoiding any discussion of death and loss…leaving those with metastatic and advanced cancer feeling deserted and isolated. At CKN we are looking to start publishing more on death, dying and “living while you’re dying”. We want to create a platform where people are free to explore the mysteries, fears and hopes surrounding death with the same enthusiasm and curiosity that we bring to all other aspects of life.
We celebrate the birthing process from conception to delivery with open doors, bright lights and cheering as if we have done something “right”. Yet, as soon as someone begins the dying process we close doors, lower the lights and speak in whispers as if they have done something “wrong”. I remember my daughter Sara feeling hurt and frustrated that the media so often spoke of someone’s death from cancer as having “lost the battle”, as if they had somehow failed. To die is to complete the cycle of life. It’s a fundamental and universal part of the human experience.
As the mother of a daughter who died of cancer at age 26, I want to celebrate ALL of her too-short life. I find it increasingly impossible to do that without acknowledging her life’s end and the impact it had on her family and friends. I feel that staying silent casts an unwanted, uncalled-for cloak of darkness over the last days before she passed from this earth; as though how she and all of us who were close to her handled this part of her life is being judged as unworthy of recognition and respect. I want to change that. I want to give us all permission to explore dying with the same spirit and passion that Sara brought to her short life.
Through this new CKN series, we invite cancer patients, caregivers, friends and family, and medical staff to share their stories about living while dying, their fears, hopes and their dreams. Let’s honour those who have gone before us by talking openly about their experiences and our own. Let’s talk about advance directives, bucket lists, living with metastatic cancer, and dying with dignity. Our goal is to enable our readers who are in this situation to educate themselves with the intention of gaining some control over their death and dying. Through shared stories, experiences and trust we will breathe life into the story of dying – bringing us out of the shadows of unease into the light of ease.
Our Most Read Papers of All Time
Canadian Cancer Society Grant:
Making Cancer Less Painful for Kids
CKN is pleased to announce that in partnership with Drs. Christine Chambers, Jennifer Stinson and others, our Canadian Cancer Society grant “Cancer Pain Assessment and Management in Children: Using Social Media to Bridge the Gap” is set to launch in early 2016.
The goal of this grant is to increase parent awareness and use of evidence-based knowledge about children’s cancer pain. Our team will develop, implement, and evaluate an integrated social media campaign called “Making Cancer Less Painful For Kids”. The partnership will capitalize on CKN’s well-established reach and engagement via their website, e-newsletter, and social media. We look forward to working with this amazing group of childhood cancer advocates on this very special project. Stay tuned….
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Lorne Cooper - CEO, Multimed Inc.
Lorne’s ability to develop a conceptual model into practical programs and sustainable businesses is an expertise sought out by many corporations, non-profit organizations and small businesses. His ability to ascertain the marketplace and identify key opportunities for project development has been the cornerstone of his career.
Karen Irwin - CKN Project Co-ordinator
As Project Coordinator, Karen liaises with all CKN editors and writers and is responsible for managing the website and its editorial content. Karen brings her unique personal perspective to CKN, after losing her son to cancer at the age of 7. As a pediatric caregiver her experience and insight plays an important role.
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Oncofertility Referral Network
Oncofertility has emerged as a new interdisciplinary approach to address the reproductive future of young men, women, and children facing a life-preserving but fertility threatening cancer diagnosis. The CKN Oncofertility Referral Network is a nationwide platform that links patients, physicians and fertility clinics to ensure time-sensitive needs are met in providing fertility options for young cancer patients as they embark on treatment.