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WICC’s 25th: Using the past to find meaning in the present — Getting to know Jackie Bailey


August 12, 2021   by Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade (WICC)


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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.

 

Jackie Bailey, WICC Ontario Board

After her mother’s experience with two cancer diagnoses, Jackie was no stranger to the disease. When she received her own cancer diagnosis in 2017, she went from acting as a support system to a family member who was experiencing cancer, to being a patient herself.

Her family, having gone through a similar experience with their mother, was very supportive, and friends would call around for a coffee or just to chat. But something that Jackie needed was the support of people who had been through the experience themselves. As a young woman, not a lot of people in Jackie’s direct circle knew what it was like to deal with a diagnosis like this. “There’s a feeling of losing control. From appointments to just coming to terms with what’s happening, you almost have to rebuild your life.”

Through friends, Jackie was able to connect with other cancer survivors of a similar age who were able to provide practical advice that someone who hasn’t experienced cancer would not be able to share.

During her treatment, one of the things that Jackie relied on was spending time doing the mundane things we all take for granted. Taking out the garbage or working on the yard became a sign of strength, an accomplishment to complete. These small acts allowed her to slowly take her life back after each surgery.

After working in the insurance industry for 10 years, it was just after her diagnosis that Jackie started to get involved with WICC. “WICC allowed me to look forward and take back some control over the future. In helping other people who have been affected by cancer, it almost feels like it didn’t happen for nothing – there was a reason for my diagnosis,” Jackie says. “Some people choose to try and forget about their experience with cancer, which is totally understandable, but I wanted it to mean something. WICC, along with my other volunteering position as a peer supporter, allows me to make my diagnosis meaningful because I can now use my experience to help other people.”

One thing Jackie mentions is that the ability to volunteer with WICC is a privilege that many dealing with cancer don’t get to have. “I recognize that not everyone who has been through or is going through cancer has the luxury to make those choices, as many of them don’t make it through or their life is severely altered. I am lucky to be able to make these choices as to how I will use my experience going forward, and to do so for those who can’t. “

Jackie currently sits on the Board of WICC Ontario and has been involved in the Sugarbush Breakfast for years. When we return to in-person events, you will find her buzzing around the breakfast.


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