Passage to Authenticity
Imagine losing your husband to cancer when he was just 30 years old. Imagine picking up the shattered pieces of your life, finding the courage to raise your son on your own, and then, just as he is launched, learning that you have cancer yourself. Some would buckle … lose faith … lose their way.
Nicole knows this story well, as it is her story. She knows what it feels like to plummet into darkness and lose sight of her future. But in her quest to survive, and in her determination to resurface, Nicole found what she never knew she was missing … she found her true self.
“Cancer really has been the most challenging thing I’ve had to face but really it’s been a blessing in disguise,” she said, after finishing her treatment. “It has totally changed who I am. I’m so much freer now, not afraid to try new things like starting my own consulting business. I see myself differently and I trust myself and my path.”
Nicole received a breast cancer diagnosis in December of 2019 at age 45. She immediately sought courses to help cope and stay fit, but it wasn’t until several months after her diagnosis, while participating in the ACE (Alberta Cancer Exercise) program that she learned about Wellspring Calgary.
“I heard people in my class talking about Wellspring but I didn’t sign up because I didn’t know it was free and I had been laid off from my job, so finances were a bit of challenge. If I had known how my life would change, I would have joined Wellspring way back on diagnosis day,” Nicole shared.
The first program Nicole joined at Wellspring was Money Matters, where she was strategically guided in her employment situation and offered help navigating government forms and processes. She then signed up for Peer Support, which she continues to look forward to, with deep appreciation for the compassionate listening and wise guidance of a cancer survivor and seasoned volunteer.
Perhaps the greatest revelation Nicole experienced, was when she was encouraged to try some expressive arts classes at Wellspring.
“I was so surprised at how therapeutic art is! I’m in the Creative Journaling class and I can’t believe how much it has taught me about myself. I crave this new artistic outlet. It has sparked my imagination, given me an outlet to process emotions and change, and helped me uncover a much deeper and truer side of myself,” she said.
Today Nicole feels calm and at peace; open to the road ahead. “My mantra is, trust the timing of your life – everything comes when it’s supposed to. If you just trust and let go of control, then all things unfold as they should. We all go through our trials and tribulations but those difficult times are there to show us the good stuff.”
The Giving Effect
Nicole’s husband Myron was a commercial pilot, flying for Suncor, when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 30 and lost his life five months later. Prior to his passing, Nicole was at home raising their young son and though the family was on a lean budget, she always found the funds to donate to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Kidney Foundation, or anyone else who came knocking.
“After my husband died, his friends did this incredible fundraiser – they raised enough money for me to pay for his funeral. I was so moved and so grateful,” said Nicole. “So you see, I have this belief that if you give, it comes back exactly when you need it.”
This year, after her own cancer diagnosis lead Nicole to find deep connection and a strong community at Wellspring Calgary, she has been digging deep and finding funds to donate to Wellspring.
“Wellspring has given me so much more than money could ever buy. I have found my true self, and the support from people I’ve met in my online programs has helped to give me the strength each day to persevere and live my dreams. I will be forever grateful to Wellspring!” she said, adding, “I especially like the idea of giving during the Matching Campaigns because my donation is doubled – an amount that’s closer to what I wish I could give.”