Grand Chapter of British Columbia & Yukon

Order of the Eastern Star

Notes from Your Director of Cancer Activities:

I am in my 5th year as your Cancer Director, and at the time I accepted this position I had no way of knowing what it all entailed.  I am surprised at how I can now talk about dressings, Community Health departments, and how hard we have all worked since 1945 when this all started.  There have been many Cancer Directors before me, some have made their “Mark” on what has been done, and how after all these years, they are still remembered with fond memories.

In the 1991 Proceedings, pages 14-16, there is a talk given by Dr. Vivien Basco, who at the time was Head of Radiation Oncology at the BC Cancer Agency.  She gave some stories about things that we had done, especially for those of you who are younger and have not lived through the support that OES has given to the Cancer Agency over all these years (remember this was 1991).

The Order of the Eastern Star was my first experience with what I like to call “professional volunteerism”.  I remember when I first went into the old BC Cancer Institute on Heather Street within two or three weeks of my arrival. I walked into the hall, I was going to take the elevator up and a lady came along and said “Excuse me, do you mind if the elevator does down to the ground floor first? I’ve been late once this month and Mrs. Shane is about to fire me.” I said it was OK and then I came up and I asked the people in the hallway who was Mrs. Shane and what was happening that was being done in such a controlled manner on the ground floor.  I first learned then about the cancer dressings.

Back in 1991, we had 67 dressing stations and 6 sub-stations throughout the Province and as many as 200,000 dressings a year were made.  This represented something like 25,000 hours of work from over 1,000 volunteers.

2015-2016 there were 26 Dressing Stations throughout British Columbia and Yukon. 9 stations this year failed to submit their annual report.

Complied statistics show 134 members put in approximately 2,794 hours to make approximately 22,896 dressings. The number of stations and hours worked is down this year, but our demand for some dressings are up. Dressings were sent to Prince George for the Hospital Community Health Nurses and the members of Prince George wrapped 8,400 dressings, working over 420 hours. Most packages of dressings contained 6 dressings, so remember 300 packages contacts 1,800 dressings.

Our most expensive dressing is “Telfa” and it is in great demand by the health services, so it takes no time to use up $2,000.00 worth of material.

This past year we donated afghans to the BC Cancer Hospital, along with toys and quilts to the Ronald MacDonald House. Many beautiful toys, books, games, stationery were donated by the members from Williams Lake. We also received knitted afghans, beautiful quilts, and other handmade projects for donation to the various hospitals.

This past year donations for the Erma Boyce Library were down. Our guest speaker was from the Library and her talk, along with some of the history of what Eastern Star has done, made the members more aware of the need for the Library. If each Chapter would have an Erma Boyce Library “March”, these donations would help us to give our $3,000 to the Library Fund. Mary Flaherty, COO of the BC Cancer Agency attended our Annual Cancer Administration Meeting in April and at that time recognized the continued support of the Eastern Star to the Library. BCCF has a library in every cancer centre so patients can research through the through the libraries.

At Grand Chapter the motion was made to purchase $51,897.00 in equipment from the BC Cancer “Wish List”. This included equipment for Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley, Abbotsford Centre, Prince George, and Kelowna. We also gave $9,000 in Bursary Awards.  Without your continued support of our Cancer Projects, these could not be done.

One of our Cancer Funds is at the BC Cancer Foundation, and anyone who wishes to donate to the Foundation, showing funds for the use of the OES, can make the donation directly to the Foundation and receive a tax receipt. It is the money in the Foundation Account that is used for our Bursary Award Recipients.

Thanks for taking the time to read my report.

Betty Henderson,
Director of Cancer Activities,
Order of the Eastern Star


As most of you have heard, and in case you have not, Sister Betty Henderson, our Director of Cancer Activities passed away on August 24th, 2016, having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only weeks before. Sister Henderson will be great missed by this jurisdiction, and she leaves a great big empty space in the lives of everyone that knew her.

Sister Margaret Barrington is appointed as the Interim Director of Cancer Activities for the remainder of this year and will be accorded all the privileges, honours, and consideration due this office.

You can contact Margaret:
-    by phone at 604-591-7485,
-    at the Cancer Dressing Officer 604-877-6000 (Ext. 3080), or 
-    by e-mail

The mailing address of the office remains as:

BC Cancer Agency
Attention Margaret Barrington
Order of the Eastern Star Cancer Dressing Office
600 W. 10th Avenue
Vancouver BC V5Z 4E6