SOUTH RIVER – Devastating news prompted a local woman to give back.
“My mother had cancer, then my husband had it, and then I had it,” said South River resident Marg Tebby, a former North Bay cancer clinic volunteer.
Tebby said the decision to volunteer her time came after finding out her mother was battling the disease.
“I’ve been to the clinic as a volunteer, as a family member, and as a patient,” she said.
Tebby said her mother lived 30 years after her own battle with cancer and her husband Vern lived 11 before falling ill again and passing away in November 2004.
Now 10 years cancer-free, Tebby is being honoured for her contributions to the community and specifically fellow cancer patients.
Tebby is this year’s recipient of the Don Ivens Memorial Volunteer Award.
“I was really surprised to receive it,” said Tebby, who celebrated her 85th birthday last month. “I looked at that list (of volunteer work) and wished I could do it all again.”
Established by Jean Ivens in honour of her late husband’s community volunteer efforts, the award recognizes a person within the community who spends their time giving back.
This designation fits Tebby to a T.
For many years, Tebby organized a group of from the area and transported them to the cancer clinics to donate their time. She also served as a driver for cancer patients needing transportation to appointments.
“They used to have clinics all the time,” she said. “Once a month at least.”
Through the clinics, patients had access to doctors from the Northeastern Ontario Regional Cancer Centre, located in Sudbury.
“It was great getting to meet people through the clinic and feeling like you had really helped them. In some cases they really helped you,” she said.
Tebby said during the time she and her family members had faced cancer, she found strength in talking to survivors.
“They can tell you how things went for them and then you’re prepared for it when it happens,” she said.
Having served on the East Parry Sound Board of Education, she was on the executive of the South River Figure Skating Club, and was an active member of the South River Curling Club.
Tebby also served on the executive of the Rebecca Lodge in Burk’s Falls, was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star in Powassan, served on the board of Chalmers United Church, starting in 1966, and is a past president.
Her husband was a member of the local Lions Club and Tebby is still a strong supporter of the club.
Mother to sons Dale, of Novar, and Larry, of Barrie, Ont., and daughter Dawn, of South River, Tebby now has seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Although she said she doesn’t see all of the members of her family as often as she would like, she cherishes the moments she does spend with them.
She said she manages to keep busy with her friendships within the community.
During her years as a volunteer, Tebby helped establish the South River Seniors Friendly Circle and is now an active member.
“It was the United Church outreach group that started it,” she explained. “That was many years before I was a senior.”
Tebby said now that she is, she truly appreciates having a group to spend time with and to keep her active.
“A lot of us are alone now, so it’s a good place to have,” she said. “It’s a real asset for the town.”
A plaque honouring Tebby will be placed with others honouring past recipients at the South River/Machar Community Centre.