GROUP EFFORT: Clockwise from left: Mikayla Smith, Jennifer Lowe, Evan Lowe, Cindy Lowe and Jeff Lowe, TELUS vice-president enterprise marketing, make UV bracelets for the Alberta Cancer Foundation at the annual TELUS Day of Service.
What a difference a day makes. One day cancer is something that happens in someone else’s family, and the next day it’s happening in yours. One day brings a discouraging diagnosis, and the next day brings new research and hope.
Joanna Mah understands the difference a day can make, as her world was turned upside down eight years ago after her father was diagnosed with cancer. And that is why she, along with hundreds of TELUS employees, their friends and their families, participate in the annual TELUS Day of Service – a day where volunteers unite to help bring hope to others.
While the TELUS Day of Service volunteers support all kinds of local programs and organizations, this year, many came out to help make UV bracelets for participants in the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers for the Alberta Cancer Foundation, which runs July 24-25 in Calgary and Aug. 6-7 in Edmonton. The beads on the bracelets change colour to indicate UV exposure levels, which are associated with the development of some skin cancers.
“For the TELUS Day of Service, I usually prefer to volunteer for causes that support people dealing with cancer,” says Mah. “Making UV bracelets was just a bonus, because it sounded like a lot of fun. I think it’s great what TELUS is doing and it gives me a sense of pride that I work for a company that gives back to the community.”
The UV bracelets will be distributed to Weekend To End Women’s Cancers walkers. The idea is to help protect walkers from skin cancers such as melanoma, which develops in 1 in 74 men, and 1 in 81 women.
The bracelets were only a small part of the TELUS Day of Service. This year, on May 29, about 10,000 TELUS team members, friends and family volunteered in about 200 events across the country, says TELUS spokesman Chris Gerritsen. “Team members choose the events, so they have the opportunity to support the causes that matter to them,” says Gerritsen. “Many of us have been touched by cancer. It’s a disease that makes no distinctions. We have many team members who have been affected directly and many more whose family and friends have been affected.”
Since 2000, TELUS team members and retirees have contributed $10.4 million to cancer research. “We truly do give where we live,” says Gerritsen.
Working alongside other volunteers, about 50 people made more than 1,000 bracelets in Edmonton. In Calgary, 200 TELUS team members, along with their friends and family, took part. The team in Calgary created more than 500 handmade encouragement cards for those affected by cancer.
To date, the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers has allowed the Alberta Cancer Foundation to invest more than $22 million in research and programs.