“For fighters, families, and friends affected by cancer… it’s on us – and it works.”
The “it” Jamie and Chris Ruscheinski, otherwise known as The Property Twins, are referring to, is counselling.
And when they say it’s on them, they mean it.
The Cancer Fundraising Confidential Counselling program is their newest fundraising effort, following a handful of initiatives, including the Clover Valley Beer Festival and the annual music festival Gone Country.
The brothers lost their mother to breast-cancer and have been raising funds and helping people through their own cancer journeys since.
“We were at the wrap-up barbecue for Gone Country at the end of the summer and after giving each of the recipients the money that we had set out to raise, we found that we had $80,000 leftover,” Jamie explained.
Suggested by friends and co-workers Sarah and Ryan Neufeld – who lost their brother Russ to the disease – the Ruscheinskis joined forces with their campaign, #runtheneuf, to help people in a whole new way.
With therapy sessions often starting at $140, counselling is often out of reach for many people who can’t afford the cost.
Jamie said after the idea of covering counselling costs was suggested, everything took off from there.
“There is a lack of support for people after going through the cancer battle,” Jamie said. “We thought it was a great idea and got five counsellors on board.”
Tamara Vaags of ThriveLife Counselling 7 Wellness, is one of those five counsellors. She said the heartbreak and exhaustion of cancer battles and gestures like these effect everyone in the community.
“Cancer can hit like a tsunami. It can leave those it touches feeling overwhelmed with the powerful emotions and challenges a cancer diagnosis brings,” Vaags said. “Counselling brings someone into the circle of support who can act as an anchor – holding space and being a calm, warm guide in the midst of the turmoil. The ripples of that healing journey can strengthen the resilience of the individual, their family and even ripple out to the community.”
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Anyone who is going through cancer, survived cancer, or lost someone to cancer is invited to attend free counselling sessions.
The bill is then sent anonymously to the Ruscheinski brothers, who will cover the cost.
All anyone interested in accessing the service has to do is start by contacting one of the five counsellors by phone, email, or web intake to set up an appointment.
“You don’t have to come through us or have worked with us – anybody who has been affected, seek treatment please,” Jamie said, stating all people have to do is reference the Ruscheinski Brothers to become part of the program.
Ruscheinski also stressed that the counseling 100 per cent free and confidential.
“It’s billed to us as a number. All we’ll be in contact with the counsellors for is to track how well it’s going with the amount of people using the program,” he said.
The service only launched three weeks ago, but Jamie said each counsellor already has three or four people receiving support through their bill-covering program.
Sessions are one hour long and people have the ability to go for six sessions – though certain circumstances deemed exceptional by the councillor could merit more.
Multiple people or entire families are welcome to attend a single session too.
Jamie added that if enough people access the service and counsellors feel people are being helped, the program will continue.
“For as long as Gone Country keeps going in the years ahead, so to will the counseling,” he assured.
People can find out more, including listings for the counsellors who are working with the Ruscheinski’s program, by visiting twinscancerfundraising.com/councelling.
Counsellors are based in both Langley and Surrey.