Supporting Canadians, during the holidays and always

26 November 2019

It was close to the holidays when 15 year-old Vincent Latreille and his 17 year-old sister learned that their mother, Lyne, had lung cancer. Sadly, it wasn’t the family’s first experience with cancer – Vincent’s father died of leukemia when Vincent was only four years old, and at the time his grandmother was living with breast cancer.

For the next few months, Lyne led an almost-normal life until she began to experience memory loss. Lyne’s condition deteriorated quickly and in December 2014, the family learned that the cancer had spread to her brain.

The following year, Vincent and his sister put their studies aside for a year to take care of their mother. Although they both had jobs, they struggled to make ends meet. It was becoming increasingly difficult for them to cover the cost of adult diapers, medications and travel expenses, so they were very relieved when the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) stepped in with financial assistance to help them with treatment-related costs.

Taking care of their mother meant that Vincent and his sister had no time to spend with friends or to enjoy their lives as teenagers.

"I wanted to stay home with my mom and enjoy every moment with her,” Vincent recalled, noting that when his grandmother died of breast cancer in January 2016, there was no time to grieve. "My mom needed me to be strong and present."

When Lyne died in May 2017, Vincent lost not only his mother, but his confidante and best friend. He’s now determined to use his experience to volunteer for CCS and help others.

"People need to give to the CCS so it can continue to invest in research and help families emotionally or financially. We received financial support from the CCS, which helped us to pay for parking at the hospital. Their help was invaluable. My mother also benefited from a wig from CCS’s wig bank. All of this can only be made possible through donations.”

Throughout the entire cancer journey, CCS acts as a support system to help ensure that Canadians with cancer, and their caregivers, don’t experience cancer alone. You can help fund our support services by purchasing a Gift of Support this holiday season.