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Helpers: Cancer took her mother and inspired her to give back to those who survive it

Julia Nosich works in oncology and palliative care, and donates her time to the Cancer Society
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Julia Nosich is a registered nurse who specializes in oncology and palliative care. Her volunteer efforts are focused on cancer survivors. (Image: Marlene Holkko Moore)

At age 25, Julia Nosich is living her dream. She has a career she loves and her volunteer life just happens to be a perfect fit. 

As a registered nurse, Nosich specializes in oncology and palliative care. 

“I wanted to work with cancer patients because it’s a time when they’re most vulnerable and need the most care,” she said, adding, “As patients go through treatment, it’s such a good feeling when they reach remission.” 

Nosich has worked in the Oncology Unit at Health Science North since 2017. 

“I found oncology particularly interesting because it’s continuous learning, and ground-breaking research and advancements in treatments are very encouraging. I’m inspired every day by how brave cancer patients are.” 

She also works on a casual basis at Maison McCulloch Hospice, part of a dedicated team of nurses committed to resident care. “It’s heartwarming to help palliative patients. And, it feels like home because we all care so deeply about them.” 

Cancer and end-of-life care are personal for Nosich. Her mother died of cancer when she was just two years old. 

“I think that had a lot to do with my career choice and my volunteer involvement,” she said. “My dad and stepmom have always encouraged my brother and me to follow our dreams, give back and be the best we can be. My mom made me who I am today, and I think my late mother would also be proud of my chosen path.”

Nosich decided at a very young age that she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. She wanted to help people. While attending St. Benedict Secondary, one of her teachers invited his class to help out at the annual Relay For Life, the popular Canadian Cancer Society fundraising event. Without hesitation, Nosich signed up.

“It was right in line with my goals,” she said. “As a first-time volunteer, it was incredible to watch people of all ages walking along the luminary track. What a wonderful feeling to help celebrate their courage and survival, and to honour those who had lost their battle. I wanted to come back year after year.” 

And, so she did. While attending Laurentian University, Nosich continued to participate in Relay and she has remained a devoted volunteer ever since. The Canadian Cancer Society has, in fact, become Julia’s volunteer passion. 

“The staff at the Society office are very supportive of every volunteer. I especially appreciate that they accommodate my work schedule so that I can continue being involved.”

This year, Relay For Life takes place on June 19 at Laurentian University’s outdoor track.

As a member of the organizing committee, Nosich’s role is as survivor engagement lead. She recruits cancer survivors to participate in Relay. She reaches out by phone, letter and at community events throughout the year. 

“I remember when one couple came on board as volunteers after purchasing luminaries we had for sale at a Relay launch. It shows that every little effort can bring real results.”

One of Nosich’s responsibilities is to organize, prepare and operate the survivors’ reception tent at Relay. She leads an exceptionally dedicated team of volunteers, the majority of whom come from Glad Tidings Church. 

“We’re all like family and they’re all so motivating, too. It’s a privilege to work with them.” 

Nosich described how inspiring it is to meet new people and to welcome cancer survivors and to see them return year after year to the annual Relay For Life event. 

“I look forward to hearing their stories of courage and conviction. They are true warriors and an inspiration to us all. These brave survivors and those we honour are why we participate year after year.

“There’s no better word than ‘rewarding’ to describe how important it is to give back. When I see the important work that the Canadian Cancer Society does, I’m very proud to belong to their community team helping to make a difference in the lives of others. As a nurse and volunteer, I hope to continue that journey for many, many years to come.”

Julia Nosich’s Volunteer Words of Wisdom

“My message is to the younger generation: You can learn important life skills by getting involved in the community. Your choice could also significantly influence your career path. The skills you acquire while volunteering carry on into your personal and professional life … All the more reason to go ahead and try something new. Volunteering could just be a perfect fit.”

Marlene Holkko Moore is a local communications professional and occasional contributor to Sudbury.com.
 




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