July 29, 2021 by Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade (WICC)
Editor’s Note: In honour and celebration of Women and Insurance Cancer Crusade (WICC)’s 25th anniversary, Canadian Underwriter will be publishing each Friday a personal story of someone who has been touched by WICC’s fundraising activities in support of cancer care and research. There are four stories in all. Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry has strongly supported WICC, which has set a goal of contributing a total of $25 million to cancer care and research by 2025.
Sindy Houle, Sales Manager, Friss
After her husband’s brave three-year battle with small intestine cancer, Sindy Houle faced one of the most difficult things imaginable; losing her loving husband and devoted father to their two children.
After he passed, one of the toughest challenges for Houle was reimagining life for her family. Sindy was grieving the life that she and her husband dreamed, built and planned. “The process of internalizing and accepting grief is difficult. Grief is complex. You are grieving what life was going to be like, who you were going to be, and must accept that everything is forever changed,” Houle says.
Now a single mother of two, Houle knew it was vital, now more than ever, to accept help, and saying yes to a dropped off meal, an offer for child-care, or words of support. She is grateful for the valuable support she received from her colleagues and many individuals from the insurance industry. The various support systems helped her, but also her small children cope with their loss.
The McMaster Children’s Hospital provided incredible support for the children, explaining, in simple scientific terms and leveraging play to explain what was happening to their father. The children now know and understand how to speak about their father’s battle against cancer. The entire family continues their healing journey, one day at a time, rebuilding their routines and finding comfort through connecting with families facing similar challenges. For the last three years, the family has been increasingly involved in raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) through Relay for Life, which brings friends and family together for an incredibly inspiring event.
“Joining these communities helped me understand that I was not alone. There are so many people who are in your shoes and are there to help. Their experiences provide much needed reassurance that we were going to be okay and if we struggled, there would people willing to help. Connecting with the people that are ‘in my club’, a club that no one wants to be a part of, led to significant personal growth. The energy and inspiration of those who are fighting, have fought, or are fighting for others, is incredibly inspirational,” says Houle.
“Now, we look forward to celebrating 25 years of WICC, which is commendable. The WICC founders must be so proud to see how far we’ve come and the impact they have had. 18 million dollars raised… 2 voices… that turned into a movement,” she concluded.
Houle often shares memories of her husband with their children, friends and their community. “Don’t be afraid to talk about the loss, to speak their names. Stories bring me so much joy…and I look forward to holding onto these memories for as long as possible.”
Sindy Houle is Sales Manager at Friss, an Insurtech based in Canada. She has also been a longstanding supporter of WICC and now is a Communications Committee member.