Canvassing for local cancer services



Audrey Heffell (left) and Iris Kooting (right) are showing off the name tags and bags the volunteer canvassers will have with them during the Central Plains Cancer Care Services door to door campaign. Photo by Jessica Hares-Lawless.

By Jessica Hares-Lawless

The Neepawa Press

During the month of April, Central Plains Cancer Services (CPCS) will be going door-to-door collecting donations for their annual canvass. Central Plains Cancer Services is a non-profit organization that raises money for their many programs which help people who are going through, survived or have had a close relationship with someone who has cancer. 

The canvass is being held all this month April and is town-wide in Neepawa. Volunteers will be going door-to-door collecting donations for the following programs and services that CPCS provides: Cancer Care Transportation, Kids Can Cope, school health programs as well as community health programs, Hearts of Hope, head coverings, resource library and the Cancer Care Support Group. 

Central Plains Cancer Services’ Cancer Care Transportation program provides cancer patients with rides to treatment related appointments. Last year, volunteers provided 1,013 rides for patients in the community. 

The organization provides many coping methods, such as Kids Can Cope, which is for kids who have had a family member diagnosed with cancer; this teaches children coping skills with special events, camps and activities. There is also the support group run by Mary Ellen Clark in Neepawa, as well as a resource library that provides books on diagnosis and coping mechanisms. 

In addition to the canvass, the largest fundraiser in Neepawa is the Cancer Care Fashion Show, which is held annually in May. Fashions are styled by It’s Time and Kereens in Neepawa and Fashion House in Minnedosa, with all clothes modeled by cancer survivors. This year, the event is going to be held on May 25 at the Yellowhead Centre. 

Central Plains Cancer Services is an organization with a wide reach, reaching from between Portage and Winnipeg to Minnedosa, down from McCreary towards the Manitoba/North Dakota border; it covers 70 communities in Manitoba. 

Even with the large coverage area, they are still looking for volunteers. “[The canvass] is held every year, in the month of April, but we’re finding that some of our volunteers are burning out,” says Iris Kooting, a volunteer and representative of Central Plains Cancer Services, “so we’re struggling to find new volunteers.” As Audrey Heffell, another volunteer and representative, explains, “We’ve all been touched by cancer at some point in our lives, whether it be with a loved one, friend or a relative or someone close.” That being said, we all have a reason to participate and take action. The group isn’t asking for much, “You’re only responsible for doing a street or two [in the town of Neepawa],” says Kooting, “we’ve got 26  volunteers already signed up.” 

If you are interested in volunteering to go door to door to collect donations or would like to donate, you can contact Heffell at 476-5294 or Kooting at 476-5640. For any additional information about the programs that Central Plains Cancer Services provides, you can go to their website,