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Posted: May 21, 2013

Cranbrook youth one of 75 in BC to change the face of cancer forever

On Saturday, May 11, 75 youth gathered at a Youth Forum in Vancouver to learn about cancer prevention and build skills to take action on relevant health and cancer prevention issues, becoming part of a larger movement fighting for a world where no Canadian fears cancer.

Early last April, the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon, called on youth from across British Columbia to take a stand against cancer in their communities – and they answered. The 75 young leaders, between the ages of 19-25, participated in the daylong forum to discuss what healthy communities look like and how to get involved. There were opportunities to learn and share, to network and see a broader vision for global change.

“The Canadian Cancer Society is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year,” says Amber Hay, Cancer Control Coordinator, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon. “We feel that if we equip our future leaders of change with some tools to make a difference in their communities, we can set the stage for the next 75 years of cancer prevention.”

Designed by youth, for youth, the Forum featured presentations by keynote speaker, Richard Loat, Founder, Five Hole for Food; Cathy Adair, VP of Cancer Control, Canadian Cancer Society; Chloe Gow-Jarrett, Lululemon Director of Goal Setting; and Ashleigh Wilson, an inspirational young cancer survivor.

Throughout the day, forum attendees were encouraged to contribute to a multimedia ‘board’ (photos, videos, etc) where they could share their ideas on health and healthy communities. The youth also participated in sessions featuring topics on influencing public policy, tobacco control and indoor tanning and practiced goal setting and planning concepts to put their ideas in motion.

A total of 15 youth from the Southern Interior attended the Forum, including Jenny Byford, 21, from Cranbrook.

“As a member of the Forum’s Youth Advisory Committee I had been counting down to the forum for months and it by far exceeded my expectations” says Byford. “The opportunity to network and share ideas with 75 other young adults who are true leaders within their communities goes unmatched. We know about 50% of cancers can be prevented and with the support of youth involvement in advocacy for healthy public policy, education of environmental carcinogens, and individual behaviour change, we can significantly reduce our population’s cancer risk. The Canadian Cancer Society has been at the forefront of disease prevention for years, and involving youth in the process will only fuel their success.

“The youth who attended are motivated to start healthy living initiatives in their communities and their actions will generate community benefits far beyond just cancer prevention.”

The forum took place at the Simon Fraser University, Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver.

“We’re thrilled that we were able to give these amazing youth an experience that they can take beyond the event itself,” says Hay. “They will be fantastic ambassadors for community conversations and healthy change.”

For 75 years, the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support Canadians touched by cancer. From this foundation, we will work with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333 (TTY: 1 866 786-3934).

Above photo: The five Cranbrook youths who attended the conference. Left-right include: Patti King Health Promotion Coordinator, Tyrel Hawke, Tim Wheaton (back), Jenny Byford, Miranda Davis, Katie Green (front).


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