Walk Out of the Cloud with Chinese Cancer Patients and Survivors – 與華人癌患者和倖存者一起走出陰霾

The Chinese Cancer Support Group (CCSG) at South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC) has been available to Cantonese- and Mandarin-speaking cancer patients and their caregivers since the 1990s. The program provides information, guidance, assurance and support during particularly difficult times. The program has been operating virtually since the pandemic, which allows patients to stay connected regardless of distance, hospital treatment schedule or changing body conditions.

Members value the opportunity for learning, sharing and being together that the program provides. They describe the group meetings “like a magic platform” that can make the cancer journey more positive, inspiring and supportive. Through sharing their experiences members feel understood during a time that can often feel isolating. One member expressed that group sharing provides “wisdom and skills to motivate myself keep going to continue treatment.

In response to members’ appreciation for the program, the CCSG recently expanded their services to include monthly outings to bring the group physically together while sharing new experiences. Previous outings have included a visit to Ontario Place to experience the Lumière- Art of Light and to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.

In July, the group visited the Longing Belonging, 100 Years 100 Stories exhibit at the Varley Art Gallery of Markham. The visit sparked many contradictory reflections. Although the group was saddened to review the dark history of the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, they were also happy to witness the growth of the Chinese community rooting in Canada through the stories of 100 people.

For some, the exhibit brought back memories of the negative impacts of the Act, with one member noting “I landed in Canada, as an independent immigrant in more than 20 years ago. The pain, struggles and discrimination brought by the (Anti) Chinese Immigrant Act was huge and deep.” For others, the exhibit elicited feelings of gratitude and hope. One member expressed, “There are more than 100 stories to tell… I came to Canada with nothing. After 25 years, I have a family and a home. My daughter and son grow up and receives high education. They will become licensed professionals soon.

If you would like to join the CCSG, please contact the group facilitator Grace at 647-642-8196.