Thanks to Husky Energy, the prevention message is out

12 January 2016

Newfoundland and Labrador -

Across Newfoundland and Labrador, the Husky Energy Cancer Prevention Program is educating people like never before.

“I learned that the more you exercise and eat healthy and not eat sugary things, then the more healthy you’ll be and you’ll live longer.” Along with the rest of her Grade 6 class, Hayley Bishop has taken to heart the lessons of a Healthy Living presentation by the Canadian Cancer Society.

While the older students learned about the role of nutrition and exercise in preventing serious disease, including cancer, the younger children at Acreman Elementary in Green’s Harbour, NL, took part in a SunSense presentation.

“You can see children using the vocabulary from the presentations,” says Patricia Yetman, Acreman Elementary principal. “They’re going home and being real advocates for the message that was delivered.”

It’s all part of the Husky Energy Cancer Prevention Program launched in early 2015. Thanks to a $1-million donation from Husky Energy, the prevention message is reaching residents of remote outports and urban centres like never before.

“We’re doing presentations at farmers markets, correctional institutes, to LGBT groups, First Nations communities, health fairs, music festivals, at schools and sports groups,” says Angela Noseworthy, manager of Community Services. The program has 2 coordinators in St John’s and 1 each in Goose Bay, Corner Brook and Grand Falls.

The urgency is real: Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest cancer incidence rates in the country. “We have the highest smoking, drinking and obesity rates,” adds Angela, “and we know that making unhealthy lifestyle choices will increase your risk of cancer.”

About half of cancers can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices. So the Husky Energy Cancer Prevention Program takes the message to children and youth – in daycare, elementary and high schools, and colleges.

Along with its reach, another strength of the program is its tailoring of the message. “Weather and transportation are real challenges, and food costs are high, so we adapt the program to the conditions,” says Angela. “We talk about how our traditional diet can be made healthier. We look at options for physical activity – if there are no gyms nearby, we look for walking trails.”

Husky staff are proud their company is funding this initiative. Offshore Installation Manager Lee Osmond hails from a remote town called Birchy Bay and recalls that education on prevention of cancer or health in general was very limited.

“It’s important to me that Husky has contributed to the Society reaching communities like Birchy Bay and teaching them this is what you need to do to live a healthy, long life, to prevent cancer if at all possible,” he says.

Since its inception, the program has reached more than 25,000 people across the province.

“This truly is a life-saving program, and we are so grateful to Husky Energy for making it happen,” says Angela.