Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Empowering the helpless to feel helpful

  • Print

As if grappling with one friend’s cancer diagnosis isn’t enough, imagine grappling with five of them.

That’s the situation Wendy Erlanger faced earlier this year when diagnosis after diagnosis delivered the bad news — first to her best friend, then to her stepmother and then to three others in her circle of friends.

"Having never been touched by (cancer), it was a lot," Erlanger said in a recent interview.
For the last six months, the River Heights resident has been channeling her resulting nervous energy into More Than Soup, a cookbook for the ill that launched Nov. 6 at the Hotel Fort Garry.

A collection of recipes and advice from more than 150 of Erlanger’s friends, family and co-workers both locally and internationally, More Than Soup is stocked with soups, cookies and breads those people have found nurturing in a time of sickness.

"As I thought of what I could do to help, I realized soup had this huge focus in the conversations," Erlanger said.

"Soup nurses people, fills them up, warms their soul and heart."

Erlanger also noticed how paralyzed some people can feel with how to comfort someone during a time of illness.

Spliced between the book’s recipes are helpful ideas and small acts of kindness — sending cards, helping restock a fridge, not being afraid to sit in silence, and other ways people have found success in offering support.

"All the things you can do instead of saying ‘Let me know what I can do,’" Erlanger said.

The book’s first print run of 600 copies quickly sold out, with the book launch raising more than $10,000.

Erlanger has fittingly directed that money to the Soup Cart, run by CancerCare Manitoba at the Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface Hospital. The money is enough to run the cart for a year.

Allison Filmon Carvey, Erlanger’s best friend who helped inspire the book, said she thought she was getting routine test results when visiting her doctor earlier this year.

The Charleswood resident had already been undergoing chemo for melanoma and treatment was supposedly going along well. But the tests delivered tougher news than she expected to swallow.

When she came home, a bowl of soup one of her husband’s coworkers had made and sent home with him that same day was all she could stomach.

"You walk through the door, your shoulders slump and you feel down but you know you need to eat something," said Filmon Carvey, who lives in Charleswood.

"Even though you feel awful, you can get it down. It was like someone was thinking of us and providing for us."

Filmon Carvey, who has known Erlanger since Grade 2, said she’s excited with the response the book has been getting, admitting that many of the recipes ingredients end up on her routine grocery list.

"Everybody who has seen it and pleased," she said.

"They’re so happy to know they’re getting something they can use, but that they can give for somebody else to use and know what the money is going towards."

Meanwhile, Erlanger has ordered a second printing of the book to keep up with requests from schools and businesses looking for a copy.

"I don’t know if it’s the time of year, or because we’re all in some way touched by cancer, it just picked up this incredible momentum," she said.

"The project is speaking to people for a lot of different reasons, but more than I could have dreamed of."

For more, visit www.morethansoup.net.

matt.preprost@canstarnews.com

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

Have you had difficulty adjusting to the new, lower speed limits in school zones?

View Results