The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre’s Open Arms Campaign
The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre (OICC) , a not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to providing care complementary cancer care to as many people as possible.
The Naomi Baker Memorial Counselling Fund has been established by the Panneton Family Foundation to provide subsidized counselling for as many patients as possible at the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre. The Fund is named in memory of beloved wife and daughter, Naomi Baker. With the creation of this annual fund Naomi’s family is showing their gratitude for the care she received at the OICC.
Naomi was diagnosed with parotid gland cancer. For two years she courageously fought the disease as it spread to other cells. Those who had the privilege to know Naomi witnessed her rally with courage, strength and resolve to live her life as fully as possible in spite of devastating health challenges. In her final year she travelled, spent time with family, fell in love and married. In short, her response to cancer was a phenomenal inspiration to us all.
“My late, beautiful wife Naomi Baker passed away from cancer almost a year ago. She was such an inspiration to me; she lived her journey passionately, courageously, and with drive and determination. Naomi played an integral part in many fellow cancer survivors’ lives,” said Palmer Panneton.
During counselling at the OICC Naomi developed a very special and supportive bond with psychotherapist Jennifer Turner. This support was extended to Naomi’s husband and family, and the relationship that resulted with the caring team at the OICC helped Naomi to cope with her health challenges.
Naomi’s family wanted her legacy to continue after she passed away. The Fund specifically helps to support Jennifer’s work in therapy so that she may offer counselling to others who need it and may not be able to afford it.
As part of their programs, the OICC offers counselling not only for patients, but for the families as well, since this disease clearly affects everyone. Having access to these kinds of services is imperative to the patients and families seeking help from the OICC making the support shown by donors and families like this so cherished and valued.
The OICC has been sharing Naomi’s story in their recently launched Open Arms fundraising campaign. Everyone who donates online to the OICC (www.oicc.ca/donate) receives a free download of the song Open Arms. Murray Foster of the popular Canadian band, Great Big Sea wrote this moving song and dedicated it to patients of the OICC. The song is about the overwhelming feelings associated with a cancer diagnosis. It conveys the emotion of feeling lost and searching for a place of healing where one can find care for their whole being.
“It was a privilege to write Open Arms and to dedicate it to the patients of the OICC. Having seen the facility, it seems to me to be longoverdue. Dugald Seely and his team have a passion for the OICC that is contagious,” said Murray Foster.