Comforts of Home

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo reflects a culture of caring

For many of the women who travel to Edmonton for breast cancer radiation treatments, the anxiety of leaving family and friends behind is overwhelming.

So when the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo heard that Sorrentino’s Compassion House was being forced to turn women away due to space, it was only natural that they stepped up with a $100,000 donation to help fund renovations.

“Unfortunately breast cancer touches both our community and our corporate family far too often,” says Heather Evasiuk, a community services manager for Wood Buffalo. “The stress of leaving your home, the financial pressures, the lack of support – it all takes an incredible toll on families.”

Since first opening its doors in 2002, Sorrentino’s Compassion House has provided a haven to hundreds of women from Fort McMurray and across northern Alberta. The Growing Compassion campaign to more than double the capacity of the house ensured that guests now have ample room to bring a friend, a sister or a husband along for comfort and support.

“Our community has grown very quickly. We are a vibrant region but we’ve never lost those small town values of helping your neighbors when they are in need,” Evasiuk explains. “We hope that having a new guest suite named for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo reminds women that we are right there with them during their difficult journey.”

Evasiuk points out that Sorrentino’s Compassion House provides so much more than accommodations, it’s all about providing quality of life to focus your strength on the cancer fight. And when guests first walk through the doors, jaws tend to drop at the warmth, comfort and space that surrounds them. That intangible feel of the house - part luxurious hotel suite, part family home - brings out the emotions. Fear seems to melt into relief once you drop your bags and stretch out on a beautiful big bed and let everything just go.

“These women arrive tired. They are exhausted, not just from the trip, but from the journey. If we can be there and make a difference, we just hope they find strength and comfort from knowing just how much their community cares.”