Catherine Coulson

Breast cancer survivor is a dedicated volunteer

Catherine Coulson
Slowly, it dawned on me that I, too, could be a survivor

“My cancer journey started after I found a lump in my breast. This was followed by biopsy, surgery and 6 months of chemotherapy. I was terrified! My mother died of breast cancer 11 years earlier, after a painful 5-year struggle. I didn’t know where to turn so I bargained with God as I walked my little 5-year old daughter to her first day of kindergarten, “just let me live 5 years so I can walk my youngest (8 months old) to her first day of kindergarten too.”

“When I was in the hospital recovering from my surgery, one of the nurses asked me if I would like a visit from a volunteer from the Canadian Cancer Society. She said they have a program called Reach to Recovery and a volunteer who was a breast cancer survivor would come to visit me if I wanted. I jumped at the opportunity. I couldn’t remember knowing anyone who had ‘survived’ cancer!”

“My Reach to Recovery volunteer from the Society came to my home within a few days. She brought me a care package of a couple of temporary prostheses, a little cushion for under my arm where nodes had been removed and some exercises for me to practise. That was wonderful. She told me about her journey and that she was cancer-free for 7 years! Slowly, it dawned on me that I, too, could be a survivor.”

Not only is Catherine a breast cancer survivor, she’s also been a dedicated Society volunteer. She started volunteering with the Society’s Kitchener-Waterloo community office in 1997, serving on the Council and organizing a program called Living with Cancer. In 1999 she took on the role of President of the Waterloo Region and served until 2004. Since retiring, she’s served as Relay For Life chair for Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge.