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Grateful patient honours Odette Cancer Centre volunteer

Jan 10, 2019


There’s a friendly and recognizable face inside Sunnybrook’s Chemotherapy Suite two days a week.

It’s Colin Irving, who has been volunteering in the clinic for about a year and a half.

This week, Colin’s face was one of sheer surprise and honour when a grateful patient surprised him with a special treat.

Dave Olthof has been undergoing treatment at the Odette Cancer Centre for the past two years. Late in 2018, he reached out to Lindt Canada and told the company about the special volunteers he’s encountered during his visits to the centre, including Colin.

“I especially mentioned Colin. He is such a positive guy and often gives his own chocolates to patients to brighten their day,” said Dave. “My wife Wilma and I have grown to appreciate what a special guy he is, and the love and care he always shows us when we are in each Thursday for treatments.”

Lindt Canada prepared a gift basket for Dave and Wilma to present to Colin to express their thanks for the work he does.

Colin spends his time in the chemotherapy suite organizing the supply room, folding blankets, and distributing drinks, soup and blankets to patients.

“I think of those items as tools that help me make a connection,” Colin said. “Sometimes, I give a drink of water to a patient and we just start chatting. I listen. We chat. I hear about their story.”

Colin travels from his downtown home to Sunnybrook for his volunteer position. He doesn’t flinch at the time it takes on transit.

“It’s absolutely worth the ride,” he says. “Volunteering here is an anchor in my life.”

Colin says the grace, strength and dignity he witnesses from patients, family members and staff in the chemotherapy suite inspire him to be a better person.

“It is a privilege to witness the love and caring that I see in the clinic.”

Learn more about Sunnybrook's Volunteer Program