Volunteering for the cause of her life
Houda Moussallier’s Story
April 18, 2018
It’s been nine years since Houda Moussallier began volunteering for Ovarian Cancer Canada. Today she continues to dedicate her time to what she calls “the cause of my life.”
Following her initial diagnosis and treatment for ovarian cancer, Houda had two recurrences and four surgeries over the course of three years. Her story enables her to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships with the women she meets while volunteering.
Once a week, Houda visits with women in treatment at a nearby hospital. “I use my own story to help others, I tell them, ‘I had a recurrence and I had chemo and look at me.’ I feel like I am lucky to be alive and that I am here for a reason - I accept this.”
“When some women finish their treatment and it is their turn to ring the end-of-chemo bell, they ask, ‘Where's Houda?’ I join them to celebrate and we ring the bell together.”
Nurses at the hospital and women whose lives Houda touched nominated her for the Peggy Truscott Award of Hope, which celebrates and acknowledges the dedication of an individual or group who volunteers to support the mission of Ovarian Cancer Canada.
Houda (left) receives the Peggy Truscott Award of Hope from Gwen Vineberg’s daughter. Gwen is a former Board Member and the volunteer who helped her
“Regardless of whether or not I was going to win the Peggy Truscott Award, I was really touched to even be nominated. It told me I am making a difference and people are seeing this,” says Houda.
But it’s not the recognition that motivates her - it’s the community.
Houda and her sister, Mona Debay
Since receiving the 2017 Peggy Truscott Award of Hope, Houda continues to invest time supporting other women and knitting to raise funds, increasing awareness of ovarian cancer at every opportunity.
She is also inviting the people she meets to register for the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope, which brings together women and families who have been affected by this disease. Houda is looking forward to walking in Montreal.
“We have a team at the hospital that participates. When I visit women, I show them a picture of all of the survivors at the Walk in our teal t-shirts and ask them to imagine themselves there. ‘This could be us,’ I tell them.”
2017 Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope
Most recently, Houda volunteered to help moderate discussions on OVdialogue, the online community where women with ovarian cancer can get to know one another and exchange information based on their firsthand experiences. “I am able to support women who are not close to me, physically. I can still help them, even if I can’t see them,” she explains.
“I get back a lot more than I give when I volunteer,” says Houda. “A volunteer helped me when I needed it. I am trying to continue what she was doing because it helped. If you’ve been supported by someone, nominate them. It means a lot.”
To make a difference for women and families living with ovarian cancer, join Houda at the Walk.