Co-ordinator, Relay for Life Youth Program, Canadian Cancer Society

Dave BarnesLike so many people, Dave Barnes has been personally touched by cancer. The experience led him to get involved with the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), and ultimately to a full-time career.

When his wife was 5 months pregnant, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease. While going through treatment, the couple learned about the Relay for Life program, organized by the Canadian Cancer Society, and decided to attend an event. Afterwards, Dave contacted the organization to see how he could get involved; he had graduated from Waterloo’s Recreation and Leisure Studies program, and had since developed an extensive background in events management – he saw an opportunity to lend his skills to a worthwhile cause.

Relay for Life organizers were so impressed by his background they immediately asked him to join the planning committee – and that eventually led to his permanent position as a Youth Program Specialist for the Relay For Life initiative. In this role, Dave supports Relay for Life youth organizing committees, recruits students to host events, and organizes conferences designed to empower youth to take action in the fight against cancer.

I love the fact that I’m not doing the same thing day after day. My job is always changing and I have the opportunity to further my career.

Dave credits his experience at Waterloo for giving him the skills that have been useful in getting him to where he is today. “Many of my courses gave me the knowledge base that I have used throughout my career,” he explains. “Not only did I learn practical, job-related information, I also learned skills that have been transferable to other parts of my life.”

If Dave’s experience inspires you, Recreation and Leisure Studies might be for you. Our graduates understand what really matters, and provide the programs and services that help to build stronger, healthier communities.

University of Waterloo