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Foligno: Survivorship Means Hope In This Fight

by Sens Player blog / Ottawa Senators

(On the occasion of Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night, Senators forward Nick Foligno shares his thoughts about the disease that took his mother, Janis, at age 47 in July 2009. Foligno and his wife, Janelle, toured Ottawa’s new Cancer Survivorship Centre on the weekend and work on behalf of the Janis Foligno Foundation, which has been established in their hometown of Sudbury, Ont.).

Ever since being affected by cancer with my mom and, being in the position that I’m in, I try to help out as best I can in the fight against this disease. The Cancer Survivorship Centre is really an amazing place. The people that are running it are the real heroes and it’s just nice to go over there and recognize them and see what they’re doing.

Senators forward Nick Foligno and his wife, Janelle, toured Ottawa's new Cancer Survivorship Centre on the weekend (Ottawa Senators Hockey Club).
The Survivorship Centre is the first of its kind in Eastern Ontario and it’s really special to see something like that available for cancer patients. Now people feel like ‘maybe I do have a chance to beat this,’ and it should be like that. It should be a feeling of hope and encouragement and a positive attitude, and I think that centre really brings that out.

My wife, Janelle, and I are going to be keeping an eye on it and seeing how it’s going. If they need me for anything, I’d be happy to help out, but I think they have it pretty well set there. They have a good staff in place and the people running it are amazing. Janelle and I couldn’t have been happier to go there and see it first hand.

Cancer is a disease that gives you a feeling of helplessness and you don’t really know how to go about dealing with it. It’s such a scary thing for so many people that they feel doomed right away. But if you can start putting words out there like ‘survivorship’ and ‘fighting it’ instead of ‘comfort,’ that brings a positive attitude and people start to think it’s something they can beat. That’s the most important thing. We need to get away from making people comfortable and trying to cope with it and start helping people beat it. That’s what I hope this survivorship centre is going to do.

We’ve started the Janis Foligno Foundation back in Sudbury and it’s slowly getting going. The biggest thing we wanted was to keep it home grown, so to speak, and help people in Sudbury. We have such a great cancer centre there and, hopefully, over a few years, we can start growing it into Ottawa or wherever we may be. But right now, we’re just really focusing on trying to help as many people as we can in Sudbury. So far, it’s been really good and, hopefully, we can continue that for a long time.

Hockey Fights Cancer is night that has special meaning to me. I’m sure I’m not the only one affected by cancer within our team or our entire organization. It’s unfortunate when everyone has a story, but when you bring it out in this kind of an atmosphere, everyone can be positive and support one another for a night. I think it’s a really great thing the NHL has done and this team has done to rally around it. It’s only going to be a positive thing for the community and the people involved.
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