I’ve been a member of the health care team at Princess Margaret for more than 10 years. During that time, I've been inspired by the medical staff, volunteers and patients who courageously offer their time and skill to help battle a very difficult disease called cancer.
As part of UHN's Global Initiative, I inquired about how I could access support from the Princess Margaret and venture to the Philippines to offer my skills. People jumped to my aid and I was provided support from the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and the Global Nursing Practice Fund.
In the Philippines, one little girl living with cancer piqued my interest. She showed me a picture of herself before a deadly melanoma had disfigured her face. I so admired her strength and determination to beat a disease that kills so many in impoverished countries. Her resilience made me smile and her courage gave me strength.
So I would like to celebrate courage for patients all around the world who struggle each day. This little girl and many others we saw in the Philippines touched my heart. I returned to Canada feeling extremely grateful to be a nurse, to have obtained the skills and support provided by PMH and to share my story and hopefully inspire others.
I had the courage to take on this venture, and returned a better nurse and person for of it. I have so many people to thank in so many areas at UHN. Their courage, support and strength helped me make the decision to venture so far from home. I drew on the courage of many patients and staff I have met and I thank each of them.
Lori Proctor-Giovannetti is a nurse at Toronto's Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.