Cancer patients find joy in 'big yellow house'
The new location for the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre is now open.
They're calling it the big yellow house, in contrast with the little yellow house that operated for the past seven years in Beaconsfield.
Administrators began looking for a new location in 2013, but had to deal with plenty of paperwork before their new location off St. Charles Ave. in Kirkland north.
Now that it's open, Executive Director Debbie Magwood said she's excited for what the future will bring.
"I don't think there's a word that can adequately express how it feels," she said. "I'm full of gratitude, full of pride."
The new centre was inaugurated on Friday with plenty of good cheer, especially from the cancer patients who use the Centre's many services.
Danielle Duc is one of those people.
"Somebody told me about the centre here so I came here and I realized all kinds of energy treatments, anything they can offer me," said Duc. "The centre here just saved my life. It's my extended family."
The old facility has served about 250 people per year since it opened in 2010, and was frequently crowded.
The now building has room for about 600 people each year, and serves clients from Montreal, the south shore and west of Montreal.
Lisa Massarelli said the help offered is wonderful, as is the companionship. Her and Duc bonded over their shared experience.
"If today I'm doing so well, so happy, and so healthy, yes the hospital provided that, the CLSC, the pharmacy. But this is where they saved me. This is where they put me back together again," said Massarelli.
The Wellness Centre offers many services including yoga, massage, family therapy and treatment from a nurse.
It is funded entirely by private donations, including $3 million needed to build the new centre.