Central Albertans are taking the next step to develop a Wellspring support centre to provide free holistic care to cancer patients and their families.
On May 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the public is invited to a lunch meeting at Bukwildz, at 4715 Lakeshore Dr. in Sylvan Lake, where the CEO of Wellspring, Christina Smith, will discuss an interim affiliation agreement with local organizers.
Last year Light Haven Wellness Retreat Society was formed to work towards becoming an Wellspring affiliate to provide services to help meet the social, emotional, physical and spiritual needs of people with any type of cancer and for any age.
“Through cancer patients and their families we have seen over and over again there is a need. There is a gap in services because we deal with the person, not with the disease,” said Debbie Oostindie, chair of Light Haven Wellness Retreat Society, on Monday.
Wellspring is a network of seven community-based support centres in Southern Ontario and Alberta. The non-profit centres give people the opportunity to talk with others who have been through cancer and access to experts to deal with issues like stress management, health restoration, fear and isolation and transitioning back into the workforce.
The Central Alberta centre, to be located in Red Deer, would offer services like yoga, meditation, dietary workshops, counselling, cancer information sessions and support groups.
A Wellspring chapter opened in Calgary in 2007 and an Edmonton centre will be opening in the fall.
Oostindie said the Central Alberta centre would likely open in 2018 in a rented facility to start.
The society will be working to raise $600,000 through fundraising, donations and sponsorship to cover operational costs for three years.
Currently Light Haven Wellness Retreat Society has about 15 to 20 members from Sylvan Lake, Red Deer, Red Deer County and Lacombe.
“Some are cancer patients and survivors of cancer. A lot have had cancer in their family,” said Oostindie, who is a cancer survivor.
Society meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Sylvan Lake Royal Canadian Legion, 4916 50th Ave.
She said the society is looking for more volunteers and also intend to hold some of their meetings in Red Deer in the future.
For more information go to https://www.facebook.com/wellspringcentralalbertaproject.