Grateful for the Path…Fully Completely
WCK Board Member Mina Bullard describes how her favourite band forged a connection to childhood cancer that would change her life.
Back in 1998, I was watching a TV special when I saw something that ultimately set me on a life path which I am so, so grateful for. My favourite band, The Tragically Hip, had done a series of concerts in support of Camp Trillium, a pediatric oncology camp in Ontario. I’d never heard of a pediatric oncology camp before, but if it was something that my favourite band was in support of, then I wanted to learn more.
In the summer of ‘99, thanks to what I’d learned from The Tragically Hip, I found myself volunteering at a week-long pediatric oncology camp here in B.C. To say it changed my life is an understatement. It was a week full of extremes: extreme fun, laughs, and wonderful adventures…but also extreme emotions, tears, and often feelings of helplessness.
I absolutely fell in love with the kids and learned what true resilience, caring, and acceptance was. I learned so much from watching the camp nurses interact with the kids; the connections I saw were beautiful and heart-filling. I was in awe of the kids, and I was inspired by the nurses. I wanted to be like them.
Immediately upon getting home from camp, I enrolled in nursing school with a dream to be a pediatric oncology nurse. Much to my dismay, there was a hiring freeze at BC Children’s Hospital when I graduated. I started working at Vancouver General Hospital, but my passion for the kids never went away. I continued to volunteer at the oncology camp for 15 summers. As amazing as those weeks at camp were, I always felt so sad as I knew one week of camp just wasn’t enough for the kids and their families. They deserved so much more.
In 2017, after a “cold text” to Colin Worth, an old camp buddy I hadn’t seen in a few years, we met up for a coffee and realized that we both had the same dream to just do more for kids with cancer and their families. At the end of our hours-long coffee, Colin asked me to be one of the first board members of West Coast Kids Cancer Foundation. That day changed my life.
Five years later, and I could not be prouder of who we are and what we are doing to support B.C. kids and their families as they navigate their cancer journeys. I wish more than anything that a foundation like WCK wasn’t even necessary. But until we find a way to eradicate childhood cancer, I will always strive to do more for the community we are serving.
I am so grateful to the families for sharing their stories and letting us walk the path with them. I am grateful to the kids for showing me what true strength, resilience, and kindness is. I am grateful to The Tragically Hip for their humble support of so many incredible organizations and causes; and so grateful that their support of Camp Trillium led me to my path. I am forever grateful to Colin Worth for helping me turn a dream into a reality. And I am grateful to my WCK family for proving that, together, we can achieve so much more.
Hey! I'm Jill.
Ready to be part of the WCK community or take on a new opportunity with us? Reach out to Volunteer Coordinator Jill Leddy at volunteer[at]wckfoundation.ca.