Fourth year nursing student Jilayne Derksen, of Fort Frances, has a passion for promoting breast health and will be facilitating the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s (CBCF) “Living Well” workshop on Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at Rainycrest here.
“The purpose of the workshop is to promote lifestyle behaviours which lower the risk of breast cancer, as well as promoting early participation in breast screening,” she expressed.
Derksen indicated she began volunteering for the CBCF in 2014.
“I was just a general volunteer,” she voiced, citing she spent some time on the youth advisory council for the CBCF in Winnipeg before moving to Thunder Bay.
“I was looking for opportunities to get involved because I had really enjoyed my time volunteering,” she said. “And I was interested in taking more of a leadership role.”
Derksen got in contact with someone at the CBCF who was starting a group of women called the Breast Health Ambassadors.
“There were 12 or 14 of us and it’s women from pretty much all walks of life,” she noted.
“There are some survivors, some internationally trained physicians, cancer researchers, and a couple students, like myself, who are particularly passionate about breast cancer prevention and living well.”
She said her passion comes from having a close family member affected by breast cancer.
“It was really a way to turn it into a positive experience,” she reasoned. “I also enjoy volunteering.
“It’s a pretty fulfilling experience.”
And Derksen indicated the Breast Health Ambassadors were trained to facilitate workshops, such as the “Living Well” workshop.
“It’s focused on prevention and living your best life to prevent illness and to prevent breast cancer,” she said, citing funding for the workshops was provided by a grant from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
“The purpose of this grant is to reach specific populations with low rates of participation in breast cancer screening and programming, such as rural populations,” she expressed.
“These populations may benefit from tailored breast health promotion programming.”
She added breast cancer is present in every community regardless of race, class, location, etc.
“We recognize with this initiative that health needs, experiences, access, and outcomes are not equal,” she voiced. “The better informed women are about breast cancer risk reduction and screening, the better equipped they will be to make informed choices about their breast health.”
She noted discussing ways to live well, promoting screening and early detection, and having a conversation about women’s experiences with breast health allows us to promote our message and to gather information about how we can improve our programming in the future to better tailor the diverse needs in our communities.
“It is truly an empowering, engaging, and exciting event to take part in,” Derksen enthused.
The workshop is about an hour long, with a time for discussion at the end.
“We do some talking about reasons why women feel they might not have had a mammogram before or things that prevent them from living well,” Dersken said, citing she’s done a couple workshops in Thunder Bay and one of the barriers identified by some is the cost of eating healthy because fruits and vegetables can be expensive.
“It’s a time for people to bring up ideas on how to overcome barriers,” she expressed.
The workshop was originally set to take place at the Fort Frances Public Library, but was moved to Rainycrest.
Heather Hudson, activation coordinator at Rainycrest, had contacted Derksen to let her know that there were several residents who were interested and wanted to attend, but that their bussing system couldn’t accommodate.
“So seeing as I have not had very many register, I decided to move the location,” she said, citing those who already signed up can still attend the session.
Registration is still open. Coffee, tea, and snacks will be provided.
Contact Derkson at email@example.com or 271-0333 if you would like to attend.