Friends use Potluck with a Purpose to celebrate the past and look to the future

22 February 2011

Charlottetown -


They’ve made it an annual event. It started back in 2005 when Joanne Weir and five friends decided to mark the 10th anniversary of their friend Ruth Ann Kottwitz’s death by getting together to celebrate her life. Ruth Ann died of cancer in February, 1995, at the age of 37. For the 15th anniversary, they found a whole new way to bring meaning to their get together, through Potluck with a Purpose.

Potluck with a Purpose was developed by the Canadian Cancer Society, PEI Division, to bring people together to discuss cancer screening in a comfortable setting. Volunteer hosts invite participants to a Potluck with a Purpose party. The Society provides Information and materials for the event, which focuses on the importance of cancer screening for breast, cervical and colon cancers as part of a healthy lifestyle routine.

“It was a perfect fit,” says Joanne. “Potluck with a Purpose gave us a more focused way to talk with each other about Ruth Ann’s life and death and our own approach to living healthy. It was a powerful way to remind us that cancer screening is one of the key ways we can help ourselves and our families live better.”

Roberta Brothers of Cardigan, one of the friends attending the event, agrees. “We’re so busy in our everyday lives that we sometimes forget to look after ourselves properly,” says Roberta. “I found Potluck with a Purpose so valuable that I’m planning to host my own event shortly to help other friends get on track with cancer screening”.

Potluck with a Purpose was introduced in 2010 as part of the Get Screened PEI campaign from the Canadian Cancer Society, PEI Division. “With the support of program sponsor  Paderno Cookware, we’re proud to bring this initiative to Islanders,” says Marla Delaney, Prevention & Public Issues Manager of the Society’s PEI Division. Paderno provides complimentary Paderno pots for hosts, as well as special purchase savings for all participants.

Potluck with a Purpose is an excellent way to distribute important information about cancer, but it goes much farther than that. Like any potluck, our Potluck with a Purpose events give people the chance to share. In this case, they share their information, understanding and experiences ways of reducing cancer risks so everyone can benefit. This is not a fund-raiser, it’s simply a way to help people become more aware in a subject which touches many people in PEI,” says Ms. Delaney.

Potluck with a Purpose events have been hosted right across PEI. Ms. Delaney notes “The feedback has been excellent.  Participants say it provides an opportunity to talk about a subject they might not otherwise discuss. Some say it has given them the nudge they need to be more proactive in looking after their health

To become a Potluck with a Purpose host, please contact Claire Nantes at the Canadian Cancer Society (566-4007 or Screening information is also available on the website

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Lori Barker

Executive Director

Phone: 902-566-4007