This year’s Peggy Truscott Award of Hope recognizes two sisters. Wendy Sutherland and Joanne Gasper became involved with Ovarian Cancer Canada when Wendy’s best friend Debbie was diagnosed.
“Debbie and I were sisters by choice. Seeing her face ovarian cancer inspired me to get involved,” says Wendy.
“At the time, neither of us knew what ovarian cancer was,” Joanne recalls. “But we were deeply touched by the people who had been affected and the togetherness they shared. The community was extremely supportive of Debbie and this made a huge difference to Wendy.”
After attending the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope, both Wendy and Joanne began volunteering for the event. In 2011, Wendy assumed the role of Co-Chair and a few years later Joanne followed suit. Together, they’ve helped the Walk in Regina, Saskatchewan become one of the largest in the country.
“Seeing the survivors on Walk day, the determination in their eyes as they support one another and share what they’re going through, makes us appreciate the urgency for this cause,” explains Wendy. “In addition to raising funds to help Ovarian Cancer Canada continue its initiatives, the Walk brings people together to fight for all women living with this disease.”
When a Walk committee member’s grandmother was diagnosed, Wendy and Joanne were moved to amplify their efforts by joining forces with a women’s organization. So it was that two years ago they successfully initiated a partnership with the Regina Riot, part of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League. Today the Riot brings support and enthusiasm to local events, even hosting an annual Teal Game to draw attention to ovarian cancer. Wendy and Joanne are among the volunteers that attend games throughout the year to help educate the public.
Community is like family
“We’re honoured to receive the Award,” says Joanne. “Many volunteers and committee members have invested countless hours in the Walk and other events throughout our community. It’s with tremendous gratitude that we share the recognition with them.”
Through Debbie’s journey, both Wendy and Joanne have grown close to members and supporters of the Saskatchewan Ovarian Cancer Survivors support group. The duo continues to attend meetings and conferences to be there for others who have become like family.
“I know Debbie is watching us and that she’s proud of what we are doing to support this worthy cause,” says Wendy. “Joanne is my rock. She keeps me going and having her by my side to take on this challenge means more than words can say. Yet, we know there is so much more we need to do.”
Recently, Wendy and Joanne helped bring about The Ladyballs Show and Tell: An Evening of the Arts. Held in May 2016, the inaugural event paid tribute to women living with the disease while increasing awareness and raising over $56,000 to support Ovarian Cancer Canada.
Walk for HER
The Peggy Truscott Award was named after the founder of the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope. It recognizes involvement, contributions and achievements within the home community of its recipients.
“We’re so thankful to Peggy for starting the Walk in 2002. It’s because of her that every September we can unite as a nation against this disease,” say the sisters.
Wendy and Joanne will receive the 2016 Peggy Truscott Award at the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope in Regina on September 11.* Join them and the community nationwide in taking steps towards a future without ovarian cancer, register today to Walk for HER.
*Walk date may vary by location. For details, visit ovariancancerwalkofhope.ca.