For a woman battling cancer, having to leave her home, support network, and community to travel for medical care and treatment can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating—but it doesn’t have to be.
Compassion House Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization based in Edmonton that supports women from across Alberta and Western Canada who have to leave their home for cancer care. They operate Sorrentino’s Compassion House, a haven for women travelling to Edmonton for cancer treatment, as well as post-treatment programs focused on continued healing. Between all programs and services offered, they support over 1,100 women each year.
Last fall, the Gay Lea Foundation approved a $10,000 grant to the Compassion House Foundation to help subsidize costs at Sorrentino’s Compassion House and keep stays affordable for women battling cancer. Guests at the house pay $35/night, but operational costs are $135/night, meaning the grant will cover additional costs for 100 nights worth of stays.
“As a co-operative, Gay Lea Foods understands the value of community and people coming together to support and lift each other up,” says Gay Lea Foundation chair, Janet Ringelberg, who is also one of the co-operative’s dairy producer delegates. “The same values are clearly visible through the work of the Compassion House Foundation, which eases distress for women battling cancer not only by providing comfortable and affordable accommodations during their cancer journey, but by creating a community of compassion, respect, understanding and support.”
“A cancer diagnosis causes emotional, physical, and financial distress, and we stand with women every step of the way,” says Jacqueline Foord, Executive Director at Compassion House Foundation. “For over 20 years, our foundation has provided a sanctuary for thousands of women, ensuring they don’t have to face the cancer journey alone. The Gay Lea Foundation grant to Compassion House Foundation is yet another example of the Gay Lea Foods’ commitment to community well-being. On behalf of the women we serve, we thank the Gay Lea Foods employees, delegates, and directors for their generosity.”
Sorrentino’s Compassion House is located in Edmonton, only 2 km away from the Cross Cancer Institute. It is open to all women with any type of cancer who live a minimum of 50 km outside of Edmonton and have scheduled appointments or treatments. On average, between 300-400 women stay at the house each year, with most coming from communities in Alberta, British Columbia, NWT/Yukon, and Saskatchewan (2%).