COVID-19 6-month update and message of thanks
From the day we opened our doors, and every day since, our members – those living with cancer, their caregivers and their families – remain our steadfast, unwavering, number one priority.
While the COVID-19 pandemic caused us to temporarily close the doors to our centres on March 13, Wellspring Calgary has been hard at work providing new ways to reach out to our members and broaden our reach. This includes providing programs online and over the phone, moving our manual systems online, and expanding our reach to all of southern Alberta – from Red Deer to the Canadian border.
Wellspring Calgary is providing an essential service that is continually being stretched to meet increased community partner requests, increased demand, and increased memberships, each and every day. Since the pandemic began six months ago, we’ve served 873 people, who have visited 165 programs over 10,400 times. This is nearly the same number of people we supported over six months last year, when our two centres were operating at full capacity with in-person programming.
This work would not be possible without the critical support we have received from our members, funders, donors, community partners, volunteers, program leaders, employees, and friends.
Thank you for being part of the Wellspring community and for helping us advance our mission, to ensure no one has to face cancer alone.
“In these unprecedented times, I wanted to send you a big thank you for all that you and the team at Wellspring are doing to keep programs available. They make a huge difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families – I would not have found treatment as manageable without you. Cancer has been one of the most difficult things I have ever been through, but being able to participate in Wellspring’s programs has been profoundly important. They have helped me find my way through the impossible days and allowed me to celebrate the good days since my diagnosis last summer. Wellspring is a community I hope to be part of for many more years.”
In 2018, Wellspring conducted an environmental scan that unearthed a significant need for non-medical cancer support programs and services in southern Alberta communities. In response, Wellspring developed a three-year plan to expand our reach by working collectively with communities to create sustainable cancer support from Red Deer to the Canadian border.
Prior to COVID-19, Wellspring developed a partnership with the Alberta Cancer Foundation to implement our Southern Alberta Strategy. COVID-19 expedited our online programming and outreach to many new health professionals and community partners. In six months, we have welcomed 306 new members, 78 from outside of Calgary – from 26 different communities.
Community Partners continue to reach out to Wellspring Calgary for our expertise in providing essential, non-clinical, evidence-based programs and services. Wellspring is able to deliver these programs and services cost-effectively and efficiently, with cost savings to the healthcare system. Thanks to the trust expressed by our healthcare network, we are pleased to be working in partnership on an array of new opportunities.
Among our new programs, Wellspring Calgary is honoured to be working with Cancer Care Alberta, the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary and Wellspring Edmonton as we prepare to launch a provincial Indigenous cancer program this year which will be co-facilitated with community Elders.
Gratitude to our Donors
Like many charities, Wellspring Calgary’s fundraising efforts have been impacted by COVID-19. While we worked to re-imagine special events and fundraisers, we are in immense gratitude of all of you who called or wrote us as first time donors, who gave what you could, who shared our messages, who signed up to become monthly donors, who increased your gifts, who gave your annual gift months in advance, and many who we welcomed back. Thank you! Your gifts, as well as your words of support and encouragement for those we are privileged to serve, keeps us inspired.
We continue to maximize all alternate sources of potential funding, such as emerging one-time government and foundation COVID-19 grants. We are pleased to share the following updates:
- COVID-19 “Cancer is not Cancelled” matching gift campaign: During significant economic uncertainty, you, our trusted donors, raised a total of $260,000! Our sincere gratitude to four anonymous donors who stepped forward to inspire your acts of generosity.
- The Calgary Foundation: We received a gift of $20,000 through the Pandemic Recovery Program.
- The City of Calgary, Emergency Resiliency Fund: A one time grant of $50,000.
- The Government of Alberta, Community and Social Services Grant: A one time grant of $100,000.
- The Government of Alberta, Mental Health and Addictions: Phase 1 grant of $211,474.
We are also in the preparatory stages of delivering our Light it Up Calgary year-end matching campaign. Stay tuned for further details.
Thankfully, parts of our world are reopening and returning to normal; however, out of concern for the health and safety of our cherished members, volunteers, program leaders and staff, Wellspring is not there yet. With cold and flu season coming up, in addition to continued COVID-19 cases, we will not be opening our centres in 2020.
We will stay in contact with our members, providing ample notice of any openings or in-person programming. In the meantime, we continue to offer programs and support online.
We are so grateful to our Wellspring community – and during this season of thanks, want to express our deep gratitude.
Thank you to those who have just joined us or are long-time members, participating in our online programs. Thank you to our miraculous volunteers who continue to offer support in new, different, and important ways. Thank you to those who lead our programs and provide key support, allowing us to run the programs that we do. And thank you to those who have made donations, supported fundraising efforts and provided key partnerships – you are the backbone of this community! Despite the pandemic, we’ve seen this community expand and grow stronger.
I look forward to what the remainder of 2020 holds. Please stay safe.
CEO, Wellspring Calgary