Called to the Mountains
By Rebecca Perkins
A few things about me
One of the things that sets me apart from other employees at Wellspring is that I am Australian! I come from the land down under… from beautiful Brisbane in Queensland where, compared to Canada, it feels like summer all year round.
My family is very outdoorsy, in fact my first camping trip was when I was just two weeks old! I grew up camping, fishing, snorkeling, hiking, swimming and skiing (we actually do have mountains and snow in certain parts of Australia!). As this lifestyle has influenced me my entire life, to be living in Calgary with the Rocky Mountains on my doorstep is a dream come true!
My partner Josh and I arrived in Calgary during the polar vortex of January 2020, a 60 degree turn around from summer in Queensland! A key reason we moved here was to bring a broader perspective to our careers; to learn how other countries are trying to solve the same issues we face in Australia. A reason we chose Canada is that we love the outdoors and we love adventure. The Canadian Rockies were calling to us!
We embraced the temperature change and the adventure began…
We spend all our spare time exploring the mountains, rock climbing, hiking, skiing, trail running and camping with our new wonderful Canadian friends. I believe that our health is our greatest wealth, and these outdoor activities keep my mind and body active and challenged, while being in nature makes me feel calm and undeniably grateful. I’m blown away by the diversity of the landscapes and beauty here. In fact one of my favorite things has been embracing the seasons and harnessing what each one brings.
I love to travel, explore and learn from other cultures and countries. During one of my university placements I lived in Vietnam both in rural and urban homestays. In my travels to Africa I went on safaris, climbed mountains, volunteered and fundraised for an incredible school in Tanzania. I’ve backpacked through Europe, adventured in New Zealand, and travelled throughout South America, including the incredible Galapagos Islands. I’ve had the privilege of exploring many spectacular parts of Australia from Uluru in the red center, to the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve been to the furthest north, south, east and west parts of Australia, and there is still so much more to discover. Today I am very proud to be living and working in Alberta.
My passion for health extends beyond my personal life. Throughout my whole career I have worked in public health, both in a prevention role in Australia at Cancer Council Queensland, and currently at Wellspring Calgary in a cancer support role as Southern Alberta Lead.
Back home I worked on the other side of the cancer continuum, the preventative side of trying to keep people healthy and well to reduce their risk of cancer. I worked with many different communities across the geographically diverse state of Queensland, including working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Cape York. Here in Canada my role as Southern Alberta Lead also involves working with rural and remote communities, with the focus on expanding Wellspring’s services throughout southern Alberta.
By working with the community and understanding their needs the aim is to improve availability and accessibility of cancer support programs and services to those living outside of Calgary’s city limits. Together with the team at Wellspring, we will continue to do all we can to ensure that no one has to face cancer alone – regardless of where they live.
I am an eternal optimist and aim to make the best of every situation. I see every day as a gift, an opportunity to learn, love and explore. I am driven to live every day to the fullest. I love life and aim to make positive differences wherever I can for whomever I can.
I love to challenge myself and my wonderful partner Josh is always supporting me to step outside my comfort zone – as this is truly where the magic happens. A mantra of mine is “feel the fear and do it anyway.” I love doing sports where you are surrounded by hardworking and inspiring people, for this reason I have done triathlons, half and full marathons, and who knows, maybe someday an Ironman! I get energy from other people! I’m that strange person who goes out for a run and feels compelled to high-five other runners! I say, “Well done!” and give them thumbs up as we run past each other. This tends to embarrass my friends to no end!
What it’s like to be far away from home
My family means the world to me! Living away from my mum, dad, brother and friends has been one of the hardest things I’ve done. Fortunately, with technology we can stay connected – as the saying goes “together forever, never apart. Maybe in distance but never in heart.” I am so grateful for their unwavering support. Josh and I hope that one day soon they will be able to visit us here so we can share this incredible part of the world with them.