Group fights cancer society office closure

A group of concerned Yukoners are trying to prevent the closure of Whitehorse's Canadian Cancer Society office. Last month the society announced that its office at 211 Wood St.

A group of concerned Yukoners are trying to prevent the closure of Whitehorse’s Canadian Cancer Society office.

Last month the society announced that its office at 211 Wood St. would close once its lease expires at the end of May. The non-profit wants to save money by cutting expenses not tied to cancer research, Barbara Kaminsky, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society BC & Yukon, said at the time.

The announcement upset Geraldine Van Bibber, the territory’s former commissioner. She has volunteered with the organization for many years.

Without a local office, people in the Yukon don’t have a central place to go for information about cancer or research, she said.

“A person off the street’s not going to walk into a cancer society office just because it’s there. They’re going to go in there because they have the need of the services. You know, it’s not something you go looking for,” said Van Bibber.

No representatives from the society attended this week’s meeting organized by concerned residents, said Van Bibber. The goal was to ensure there’s still an “entity of hope and values of the Canadian Cancer Society in the Yukon,” she said.

“We just have to re-visit our office here now that it’s closing and make sure there’s no gaps in the system for what we need,” said Van Bibber.

Over 40 people attended the meeting, she said. They discussed different options, like possibly sharing office space with another non-profit, or creating another organization. A meeting is planned for next month, she said.

Tammie Hennigar, the regional manager for the society in the Yukon, plans to leave the society. After the office closure, there would be one part-time employee left in the Yukon. The society plans to continue its Relay for Life fundraisers in Dawson City and Whitehorse.