Cancer patients and their families in Central Alberta now have somewhere they can turn to share stories, and learn strategies for living well with cancer.
About five months ago the nonprofit Wellspring Alberta started a Cancer Connect program in Red Deer. Led by a facilitator, the free in-person program gives people an opportunity to gather to talk, for support and learning.
“Its focus is really to create a safe space for people who are living with cancer to connect and share, to reduce that isolation so they don’t have to face cancer alone, and hopefully they can leave with tips and tools and strategies to manage whatever it is that they may be going through,” said Wellspring outreach manager Rebecca Perkins.
Sessions are held on the first Tuesday of the month at 11 a.m., and the third Tuesday of the month at 5 p.m., at the Red Deer Public Library’s Dawe branch. Sessions run about two hours.
Wellspring Alberta, founded in 2022, was formed when Wellspring Calgary (founded 2006) and Wellspring Edmonton (founded 2010) joined to form one province-wide charitable organization.
The charity operates three centres; two in Calgary and one in Edmonton, along with a variety of online programming so cancer support can be accessed province-wide.
“This is really about bridging that gap in services to ensure that people all across the province can receive the support and tools that they need to cope and live as well as possible with cancer,” Perkins said.
Perkins runs a Central Alberta cancer support working group and works closely with Red Deer Primary Care Network, Central Alberta Cancer Centre and community organizations to identify gaps in programs.
She said Cancer Connect is driven by the needs of Central Albertans and there is opportunity to expand the types of local in-person programs in collaboration with other organizations to meet the community’s needs.
“I think this is the start of a lot more to come.”
For more information visit wellspringalberta.ca.