One of our BIG Give recipients this March was Wellspring Edmonton. "Wellspring Edmonton is a community-based support centre offering non-medical supportive programs and services that meet the emotional, social, practical and restorative needs of people living with cancer and those who care for them. All programs, services & resources are offered free of charge and without a referral (Wellspring Edmonton Website)." Specifically, the request was to fund the Nourish program which has an objective to improve the health and well-being and outcomes of cancer patients by decreasing the rate of malnutrition while increasing confidence and social connection.
With most recent statistics stating that 1 in 2 Albertans will receive a cancer diagnoses, and further studies showing that 31 - 87% of cancer patients experience malnutrition, the need for a program like Nourish was clear for our Funding Allocation Committee.
Our Governors, Kayla, Bretton and Michel joined our Executive Director, Anika on a tour of Wellspring Edmonton where we got to see the space, learn about other programs and see the Nourish program in action!
When you first walk into the building, there are friendly volunteers to greet you and help you find your way, when we visited it was Ellen.
We were lucky to have the Program Director, Dr. Marilyn Hundleby, show us around including a children's centre where kids can spend time while parents are in programming!
Next up was one of their flexible rooms that is currently being utilized for a collaborative art project. What we found to be so wonderful is that Wellspring has evidence-based programs that support cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers as individuals but that no matter who you talk to, the connection that results from participating in these programs really is the secret sauce to the Wellspring community's holistic success. Their vision that nobody faces cancer alone is felt through all their staff, volunteers and spaces.
Downstairs was still bright with lots of windows, and some pretty vibrant program rooms! As well as private Reiki suites, there were rooms for fitness activities and music. We might just have to do a second tour during the drumming class!
Our Governor, Michel, was particularly excited to see the workout space where specialists bring participants through physical activity programming tailored to any of their limitations from treatment. The stats on the positive impact of exercise and cancer are very encouraging, and as a trained kinesiologist, Michel has actually seen some of this work in action first hand!
Finally, we got to sit in on the Nourish class! There were about 15 participants (even on a very dreary day), and the topic was dairy. If you can imagine how many health and wellness claims you hear on a regular basis, imagine how much extra information (and misinformation) is swirling around for those facing cancer. It was a pleasure to hear the many questions that got raised based on things people had heard or ways their body would react, and to observe the trained dietician provide answers that visibly provided a relief to the participants. Hey, we even learned a little bit ourselves!
In chatting with one of the participants following the program, she noted she goes to every program offered and continues to make recipes from all the classes, but what she appreciates is being in a safe space as a person with cancer, with others facing a similar challenge, and knowing that the information she's getting is fact-based.
We can't say enough about how warmly we were welcomed to Wellspring, and the foundation was already up on the donor wall! Together, Edmonton and area REALTORS® are making a big impact for people facing cancer through the Nourish program at Wellspring and we are proud to be part of the equation.
Left to Right: Michel Lafleur, Bretton Norenberg, Kayla Glesman, Anika Gee.
Special thanks to Martin, Marilyn and Sae from Wellspring Edmonton for making our visit so outstanding!