Friend for Life

cancer support network

What We Do

The basic support for people with cancer usually does (and certainly should) come from family and friends. However, sometimes the person with this life-threatening disease feels obliged to comfort and cheer up the family. He is not really able to confide his own fears and talk over his honest feelings with anyone. For this he needs a stranger, someone he does not have to be strong for, yet someone who has ‘been there’ and can share feelings and possible coping methods.

Our Mission

To help persons diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones navigate the path through diagnosis, treatment and recovery by pairing them with a trained survivor of a similar experience so they can face cancer with someone who's been there.

Established in 1988, Friend for Life is a network of cancer survivors and co-survivors (caregivers) who serve as trained volunteers, providing one-to-one emotional and psychosocial support to persons diagnosed with cancer, and their loved ones. Facing cancer with someone who has been through a similar experience helps restore a sense of stability during a tumultuous time and to navigate the path through diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Support is provided by cancer survivors or caregivers who have received training by healthcare professionals to prepare them for their role as peer mentors. Support is available for persons diagnosed with cancer for the first time, for those with recurrence and metastasis. Friend for Life knows that a cancer affects more than the person with the diagnosis, and also provides support for loved ones.

Friend for Life volunteers:

  • understand first-hand the anxieties and uncertainties that come with a cancer diagnosis
  • do not provide medical advice
  • encourage clear and prompt communication with the medical team
  • help adapt to the realities of the disease and treatments
  • encourage connections with other community, regional and national cancer resources
  • offer a human ‘bridge’ to survivorship
  • listen