As 2016 came to a close, so too did my PULSE assignment at the Canadian Cancer Society in Toronto. I feel like I should write a final blog, but where to begin?
As I reflect on these past months, I want to write about my experience, but I can’t seem to find the words to describe how in awe I am of the work done by the Canadian Cancer Society every day. How do I write about the tireless efforts of the team I worked with to improve public health? About this organization’s unwavering commitment? Their priorities are evident at the heart of everything they do to fulfill their mission:
- Lead research to better prevent cancers so that more Canadians reduce their cancer risks and fewer face cancer.
- Influence public policy for quality cancer care everywhere in Canada so that more Canadians survive cancer.
- Focus support programs on the greatest need of patients and caregivers so that Canadians touched by cancer have a better quality of life with and beyond cancer
- Engage more Canadians in the fight against cancers so that the Society has most impact, with Canadians, against cancers for life.
My experience at the Canadian Cancer Society has been tremendously educational. I gained exposure to the NGO environment and the world of public health. This assignment was particularly personally fulfilling for me as I learned about cancer risks, prevention, research, information gathering, knowledge translation, advocacy – not to mention Canada! It sounds so cliché, but every day I found myself amazed and inspired by their work. I was virtually reduced to tears as I sat in a meeting room listening to a conference call about efforts to promote and advocate for sun safety. How could a discussion about trees and sunscreen have such an effect on me? The creativity and passion with which the team approaches delivering tailored, effective prevention messages to the most vulnerable populations was an inspiration that will stay with me forever.
My PULSE assignment has been an amazing experience. I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to GSK for implementing and allowing me to be a part of the PULSE program, to my GSK colleagues who ensured that the work of our “home” department continued minus one body, and to the Canadian Cancer Society. It’s been a pleasure and privilege to be even a small part of this organization and the PULSE program.