Since its founding in 1992, volunteers have been one of the most valuable resources for Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation, playing a vital role in advancing the mission to provide emotional, social, spiritual, practical and rehabilitative supports for people living with cancer.
At Wellspring, volunteers are instrumental in all centre activities. For example, when arriving at a Wellspring centre for the first time, every new cancer patient, or member, is immediately welcomed by a volunteer –individuals who are themselves either cancer survivors or caregivers for a cancer patient. These Peer Support Volunteers have been specially trained to not only provide information about Wellspring and the programs and services offered, but more importantly, to provide vital emotional and coping support at a time when it is most needed.
The diagnosis of cancer, whether it be a first diagnosis or a recurrence, can be devastating and may have a significant impact on the emotional well-being and coping capacity of both patients and their loved ones. The Peer Support Volunteers at Wellspring are the doorways into the community that is Wellspring, with the ability to provide all cancer patients and their families with an immediate sense of comfort, reassurance and hope along with programming suggestions designed to help cope with the diagnosis and treatment. And, throughout a member’s association with Wellspring, the Peer Support Volunteers will continue to provide regular check-ins for general discussions of a member’s ongoing health and wellness needs and to direct them to Wellspring programs designed to meet those needs.
Other volunteer roles at Wellspring include front desk assistance, support group co-facilitation, assisting the professional leaders in the delivery of Nourish sessions, driving members to and from Wellspring, as well as assistance with community outreach and fundraising. In addition, volunteers who are qualified and have been trained to do so, lead specific programs, such as From Health Care to Self Care and provide energy services including Reiki Therapy and Therapeutic Touch.
In recognition of the important role of volunteers in serving the mission of Wellspring, many opportunities are provided for volunteers to continually advance or refresh their skills. They receive in-depth training to support their Wellspring activities, as well as opportunities to participate in professionally led trainings in food safety handling, supporting bereaved families and members from culturally diverse communities as well as in ways to communicate with individuals who have cognitive impairments.
With more than 600 highly motivated and trained volunteers, serving the four GTA Wellspring centres, their contribution of donated hours is the annual equivalent of approximately 25 full time employees. Many began their association with Wellspring as cancer patients, and have remained loyal to the organization and the Wellspring community after having been convinced of the unique and crucial role that Wellspring plays in enhancing the quality of life, survivorship and longevity for cancer patients.
If you are interested in volunteering with Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation, please call 416-961-1928.