Rebecca Perkins, outreach manager for Wellspring Alberta, stands with local volunteer Sarah Drever.–NEWS PHOTO SAMANTHA JOHNSONSamantha Johnson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Wellspring Alberta is a nonprofit charity offering free cancer support resources for adults living with cancer, along with their caregivers and supporters, ensuring nobody faces the disease alone.

Wellspring Alberta is a nonprofit charity offering free cancer support resources for adults living with cancer, along with their caregivers and supporters, ensuring nobody faces the disease alone.

Outreach manager Rebecca Perkins said, “We provide an extensive range of free programs and services for anyone living with any type of cancer at any stage of their journey.”

Perkins’ role is to explore how to build stronger cancer support communities, particularly in areas outside Calgary and Edmonton. She was recently in Medicine Hat for a Welcome to Wellspring event, which included two sessions focused on spreading awareness about Wellspring programs and services available.

“It is also to enable the community to have a voice about what it is they want and need,” added Perkins. In Medicine Hat, Wellspring provides programming both online and over the telephone, but Perkins says they are looking to learn if the community would like in-person services here.

Hatter Sarah Drever, a local volunteer with Wellspring, was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and Wellspring was offered as a resource by the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. However, she was unable to drive due to the treatments and going to Calgary wasn’t an option to attend a one-hour course or program on top of the multiple trips she was making to the Cancer Centre. Wellspring began offering online programs in 2021, allowing Drever to access the services available.

While she had a local support network, it was difficult to articulate the reality of what she was going through.

“The very first meeting I sat in was on Brain Fog, the program leader provided tips and tricks on how to deal with memory loss, how to keep your focus and how to get through in life with the deficits,” Drever said. “Some can be permanent, from radiation, chemotherapy as well as surgery.

“That was my first experience and I’ve only done Wellspring online, I’ve never attended an in-person program at any of their centres. The help I got with Wellspring, the community that is created, is absolutely invaluable.” All programs are free and Drever emphasized the supportive environment and how Wellspring ensured she didn’t feel alone.

“Where there are no resources in Medicine Hat, the healing I got through Wellspring, it’s phenomenal. It set me up to where I feel like today I can help others.” Navigating the emotional, physical, financial and mental tolls of a cancer diagnosis causes many to feel alone and unsupported.

Many who attended the Medicine Hat session stated they wished they’d known sooner about the programs Wellspring offers. For more information about Wellspring, visit wellspringalberta.ca or call 1-866-682-3135.

By Samantha Johnson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Nov 28, 2023 at 15:25

This item reprinted with permission from   Medicine Hat News   Medicine Hat, Alberta

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