From cancer survivor to mentor, Linda Ydreos has journeyed through diagnosis to treatment to surviving and thriving.

With the help of her family and colleagues at work, she has used her intimate knowledge of the entire cancer system to help launch one of the first pilot sites for the Your Health Matters (YHM) program at Spectra Energy Transmission, where Ydreos is senior director, benefits.

In late 2009, Spectra Energy’s Connect to Wellness program teamed with the Windsor Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) and Cancer Care Ontario to offer all employees the opportunity to take part in a YHM presentation. The presentation ran approximately 45 minutes and provided employees with information regarding modifiable behavioural risk factors, three commonly recommended screening tests and healthy lifestyle choices.

Participation was voluntary and open to all Spectra Energy Canada employees, including contract employees; a total of 550 staff took part in either the in-person presentation or the e-learning module. The data employees provided at the presentation were kept completely confidential, stored by WECHU and given to the Public Health Agency of Canada in aggregate form to be used to develop “best practice” prevention and educa-tional tools for Canadian workplaces.

Spectra Energy employees found the YHM easy to understand and helpful. Many indicated that they would act on some of the recommendations and/or follow up with a healthcare practitioner about screening. Interestingly, 86% of Spectra employees were already meeting the recommended guidelines for mammography and 83% for Pap tests. These positive results may, in part, be attributable to the company’s existing workplace wellness culture.

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