I would like to officially kick off my Childhood Cancer Awareness BLOG Interview series which I have titled “BE THE GOLD” with an amazing woman who I have had the chance to get to know over the past year; JOCELYN LAMONT, Executive Director of the CANDLELIGHTERS Childhood Cancer Support Programs Inc.
Charity organizations are only successful under dedicated, committed and compassionate leadership. Ms. Lamont has all of these traits and more. I have admired her boundless energy and the vision that she portrays for the Candlelighters charity. Candlelighters, like other childhood cancer charities, are an essential component to the families going through their child’s struggles and their success means more and more children and families are receiving much needed assistance and support.
My interview notes with Ms. Lamont:
Question: How long have you been involved with the Candlelighters?
Ms Lamont: I became the organization’s volunteer Executive Director in 1998 and the role has grown since then to what it is today. It is my full time career and we have staff and volunteers to run all of our programs and services.
Question: What inspired you to work with this charity?
Ms Lamont: My own son Connor was diagnosed with cancer in 1995 and sadly passed away in 1997. Our family’s experience, while certainly not the outcome we had hoped for, was filled with much happiness and many good memories in amongst some obviously terrible sadness and grief in the short 20 months we had from the time Connor was diagnosed until he passed. But Connor inspired me to do something so other families would have opportunities for happiness along their journey with childhood cancer and feel comforted and supported, just like we did. We were so fortunate to have friends and family around us always, but it was obvious others were not so fortunate. And then, I saw a plaque that said “BELIEVING – In the journey of life what may appear to be the end is actually a new beginning” and well, the rest is history.
Question: What are some unique facts about Candlelighters?
Ms Lamont: Candlelighters has grown so much over the years. Our CYBERKIDS program started out with a bunch of old computers that we had help putting together – old 386’s. Our parking program initially started with providing families one month of parking and now all families have 100% of their parking expenses covered.
Question: What gives you the greatest satisfaction out of your job?
Ms Lamont: Knowing that every day we make a difference in someone’s life.
Question: Your job requires a great level of dedication. How many events would you attend in a year for Candlelighters?
Ms Lamont: Wow! Lots! I don’t know a count but between Candlelighters events and activities and other events that I attend to promote our charity, it would be well over 100 a year.
Question: What would you say is the Candlelighters’ greatest resource?
Ms Lamont: Our enthusiastic volunteers, like yourself, and our amazing sponsor companies who ensure that year after year we can keep expanding our services and increasing our support.
Question: Is there anything you would like to tell my audience about Candlelighters?
Ms Lamont: We are small but we are mighty! Simple things in a complicated world have tremendous impact.
Question: Any closing thoughts?
Ms Lamont: I just really want to wish you the best in Toronto Theresa. You have been wonderful and I want nothing but the best for you always.
When compiling my notes from Ms Lamont’s responses, her statement; “Simple things in a complicated World have tremendous impact” had so much meaning to me and really personify what the Candlelighters organization is really all about. The “simple things in life” like breakfast with the family, catching the bus for school, doing homework in the cafeteria, paying the phone bill, or having friends over for coffee, are things that are “simple” to most of us, but to a family dealing with a child with cancer, these “simple” things are not so easily done and do have a “tremendous impact!” They are every day events that we take for granted but for Childhood cancer families they are a gift!
I would like to thank Jocelyn Lamont, Executive Director of Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Support Programs Inc. for taking the time from her very hectic schedule to answer my questions and participate in my Childhood Cancer Awareness Blog series. I have the greatest respect for Ms Lamont for what she does for others every day, but most of all, I am in awe of her dedication. Before this interview, I did not know about Connor and that he was the motivating factor that drives Jocelyn Lamont to help other childhood cancer families. What an incredible legacy!
Keep tuned in for my “BE THE GOLD” submission to get a Parent’s perspective,