People of Georgian: Director embraces new priorities after husband’s cancer diagnosis
August 06, 2021

What’s your story?

The Georgian community is full of unique, inspiring perspectives —and we’re sharing them as part of an ongoing series.

People of Georgian: Meet Cheryn Thoun

In 2016, shortly after my father died, we found out my husband had cancer. It was very shocking and very unexpected.

Cancer is one of those things that most people say completely shakes you to your core.

Two people dressed in winter hats and coats stand together and smile at the camera outside in a snowy forest.

I was cruising along, thinking I was at the pinnacle of my career leading the Communications team at the Toronto Transit Commission, doing work I loved, and the bottom just dropped out.

It was a two-year journey, at least, of getting my husband through his cancer treatments, but it really made us think about what we wanted in life and what was important to us.

We started to formulate a plan of reshaping our priorities, and part of that was wondering whether we could wait until retirement to move up north. How could we relocate our careers sooner?

This was a time when people weren’t often working remotely, so I knew I was going to have to leave a job I loved, and I didn’t know what I’d even find up here.

I was willing to settle; I could work at a small organization just to pay the bills.

But after six months of job searching, a position at Georgian came up.

I was drawn to the college because I knew it would be really interesting, challenging work.

‘Happiness is not some elusive thing’

And in hindsight, it’s so interesting how this journey led me to work that’s actually incredibly fulfilling, with a team I love and work I really enjoy doing that is challenging and all of the things I was hoping for.

When you’re starting your career, you think there’s kind of this straight-line trajectory to the “top,” whatever that is.

But it can take many twists and turns, and sometimes you have to follow your gut and reprioritize and you actually end up in a better place in the end.

Two people wearing shorts and T-shirts stand with their arms around each other, and a dog sitting at their feet, as they look out at a sunset on a lake.

Happiness is not some elusive thing. To me, it’s not putting things off for “someday,” rather figuring out how to integrate those things into your everyday life.

It’s also having a partner I love and who is thankfully healthy, as well as doing the work I love.

What more could I ever ask for?

Cheryn Thoun, Director of Georgian’s Communications, Marketing and Recruitment department.

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