Lynn Seabrook, while making visits to Indigenous communities, often hears how her support is helping community members feel safe for the first time while getting cancer screening. That's why Lynn's role is so critical: everyone deserves to feel safe while accessing potential life-saving services like cancer screening.
Lynn dreamed up her job years before it existed. Before she knew she would be the one to do it. As a health director for First Nations in the Fraser region, Lynn saw the need for a safe space where Indigenous communities could learn and take part in cancer prevention and screening.
Originally from Ontario, Lynn's Indigenous ancestry comes from her mother's side from a small community in the north. For the past 33 years, she has lived in BC where she married into the Katzie First Nation. She is a proud mother to one human and two fur babies (a golden retriever and golden doodle) and auntie to nieces and nephews.
Being an advocate for Indigenous people has shaped Lynn's career in healthcare. In her new position of Indigenous health promotions specialist for BC Cancer, Lynn travels to Indigenous communities across the province where she shares information about cancer screening and prevention, and engages community members to understand barriers to accessing BC Cancer's services, including availability of culturally safe care, previous trauma, and poor experiences with the health system.
"When I think about June 21st I think about how proud I am to be an Indigenous woman. To practice the teachings of my late grandmother of being an avid fisherwoman, honouring her legacy. The ancestors have brought me to this role at BC Cancer with a purpose."
In her short time in this position, Lynn has already made some impactful changes like introducing cultural supports into screening services. Examples include having a local Elder present to provide cedar brushings to each individual before they get screened during mobile mammography visits to Indigenous communities. After they are screened, Lynn gives each participant a medicine pouch.
Pictured left - right: Thelma Stogan and Felicia Stogan members of Musqueam, Stephanie George and Michelle Mondor mobile mammography coach techs, and Lynn Seabrook Indigenous health promotions specialist.
As a cancer survivor herself, Lynn understands the need for sharing circles, a safe space for people to voice fears, ask questions and provide feedback. These circles introduced by Lynn are also helping to reduce stigma around cancer. Connecting with communities up North and in remote areas of the province is something Lynn is looking forward to doing more of in the coming months.
"I am honouring who we are as Indigenous people and the resiliency that we carry. Our work together will positively impact generations forward."
This Indigenous Peoples Day, and every day, we are grateful for the important work Lynn is doing and the positive change it is bringing.