Becky Trussell: impassioned Wellspring member, program leader & donor

Becky Trussell was Dr. Rebecca Trussell, a respected Calgary physician specializing in pediatric endocrinology for 25 years. She was also a wife, busy mother of two, avid researcher, budding photographer, and an extraordinary role model to many in the medical world.

Then one day, cancer rocked her world.

“I was very committed and devoted to my career and family. But cancer doesn’t ask – may I come in? It just barges into your world and you are forced to reckon with it,” said Becky, looking back on the day she received the life changing diagnosis of uterine cancer.

Becky’s treatment included surgery, several rounds of chemo, and years of follow up steroids. It was incredibly challenging, but she summoned optimism and humour to push through the hard days.

“I dressed for chemo treatments!  I wore dramatic capes, sequins on two occasions, and yes, even an elf suit on my last treatment day before Christmas!” she said.  For Rebecca, this was survival mode, and indeed, survive she did. But though she achieved full physical recovery, some parts of her personality were never quite the same.

“I returned to work – too early – just six weeks after treatment, and I wasn’t myself. I was a fraction of myself. I was not the enthusiastic, energetic mentor, teacher and clinician I had been. This ‘new person’ suffered with terrible fatigue, irritability, depression,” she said. “After three years of suffering and blaming myself, I retired, and it was only then that I could begin to seek the help I needed to reclaim myself, or at least find a new version of myself that I and others could love.”

Becky loves cycling with her husband. They have even cycled the entire circumference of PEI.

That’s when Becky found her way to Wellspring.

“I knew about Wellspring because one of my colleagues had a brother who was a founder of Wellspring, who also had cancer. I just never envisioned myself needing to go there. I suspect that no one has ‘cancer support’ highlighted in their bucket list,” she said, laughing.

But for Becky, arriving at Wellspring was finding the path back to herself.

“Wellspring was an environment of kindness and caring – there aren’t many spaces like this in the world. It was almost palpable for me – I felt totally wrapped in it every time I came through the door. That has been my ongoing sense. I was in a place that was safe and uplifting,” she said.

After a few years of regularly attending the Tuesday Tea program, Becky was invited to lead a similar community program for women that calls Wellspring home, and there she found a tremendous sense of value; a deepening of healing that can only come from the act of giving back.

“It felt natural to be in a group of women and I was thrilled to be a co-leader with another creative and delightful member, Dorothy Mackintosh,” she said. “We’d gather in this room – this safe, loving space, and we were all the same in that we all belonged. People would open up and the sharing would pour out. It felt like a luxury to me to be among these wonderful human beings. We were all finding hope as we rose together out of the suffering.”

When the pandemic shifted programs to an online community, Becky missed the joy of being together in centres terribly, but her love of Wellspring has never waned, and she continues to participate online and by donating to an organization she calls ‘magic’ and ‘life changing.’

“It’s not a question of can I give to Wellspring – it’s how quickly can I get to the bank! How fast can I donate?” she said.

“Why would I not give to a place that is so full of joy, peace and healing? It’s a community that has given me and so many others – so much comfort and meaning. Wellspring is life changing and by that I mean, for me, it gave me my life back. You can’t put a price on that – it’s gold,” she said.

“I can think of no other place for an individual cancer patient, their caregiver, and their family to be where there is such love, serenity, understanding, peace and acceptance.  Wellspring has changed many lives, and I am one.  I am forever grateful.”

– Becky Trussell

Becky loves to garden and photograph beautiful blossoms.

10 Comments

  1. What a beautiful story, Becky. I miss seeing you at Carma House and hopefully, one day soon, we will all be back in centres and back together 🙂

  2. Hi Becky: feel the same sentiments as Gina.
    Your story is inspiring.

    Always enjoyed our chats when I volunteered at Carma House on Tuesdays. Gracious & Grateful always, setting the tea tray “just so.”

    Marilyn Ostryznik, peer support volunteer

  3. Hi Becky,
    Thank you for sharing your cancer experience.
    You’re an incredible lady with an enormous heart💞and your tireless dedication to Wellspring is very much appreciated!
    Looking forward to the in person group sessions with you!
    Pat🥰🤗

  4. Bravo Becky. Your Friday afternoon tea parties were always lovely! 🙂 Carol Rose-Skelly

  5. Thanks for sharing your journey back to being you. Wellspring and our members are fortunate to have you cheering us all along.

  6. I had the privilege of working with “Dr. Rebecca Trussell” and the gift of reconnecting later with Becky Trussell. Her gifts are many and varied, but one thing that has stayed the same over time is her ability to meaningfully connect with people. I do think Becky and Wellspring were meant to find each other (bucket list aside…). She is and always has been a true leader:)

  7. What a lovely story Becky. I am glad you are doing so well & miss seeing you on Tuesdays at Wellspring & hope to be back volunteering soon.
    Hugs, Pat McDonald
    Volunteer

  8. My dear Becky:
    One Tuesday afternoon, a few years ago, you greeted my husband Fred and I with a beautiful smile and gentle manner, both of which we so desperately needed. We had recently been told that my Fred had terminal cancer and had only a mere few months left to live.
    You, Don and members of the Tuesday afternoon Tea Group became a mainstay of support for us as we travelled the many challenges and frightening times that were ahead. Thank you for taking the time to share part of your Cancer story.
    Sincerely,
    Diane Brown

  9. Hello Dear Becky,
    I also miss seeing you. I recall when we would see each other at various Wellspring Volunteer functions. It was also a great pleasure for me to learn so much from you, while we served on the Speaker’s Planning Committee. You were always a most thoughtful, well-prepared, and articulate member of this group. I may call you up one day this summer for a tour of what I know is your most beautiful garden! I hope you are enjoying your days at home. I hope to see you again at Wellspring at some time in the future. Big Hugs! Marilyn Will

  10. I meant to say also,
    Thank you for sharing your story. MW.


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