Story 45

A caregiver's story

Hélène with her husband, Michael

Hélène Hardy, from Gatineau, Quebec, understands that being a caregiver comes with many challenges and that more support is needed for those who provide care for loved ones with cancer. Hélène was the main caregiver for her husband, Michael, and also had to provide for her family financially. In 2008, she contacted CancerConnection for support.

"I got involved as a caregiver because I felt very, very alone. I didn't know where to find information, what to expect and I was in a situation where my husband was in phase 4 incurable. I just needed more support."

Hélène at the 2009 meeting

Now Hélène is a passionate advocate for improved support for the thousands of caregivers across Canada. She has become a volunteer with the Society, pushing for improved family caregiver benefits. Working with the Society, Hélène's efforts have included television interviews and, in 2009, a meeting with members of Parliament on Parliament Hill to discuss how a caregiver strategy could relieve some of the financial stress for people caring for loved ones.

Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, congratulates Peter Goodhand, former President and CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, when the Family Caregiver Tax Credit was introduced

Her efforts are paying off. In 2012, the federal government enacted the Family Caregiver Tax Credit, which promises improved financial support to family members caring for a loved one. Although there is more work to be done, Hélène says that "at least, it's on the map. People are talking about caregivers and are realizing that cancer patients and caregivers have many faces and many different stories."

Learn more about volunteer advocacy opportunities where you live.