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A Tribute to Our Co-Founders
Co-founders John Stephure, Rita Egizii, Barbara Cunnings
Watch this video and meet co-founders Barbara Cunnings and Rita Egizii
In Memory of John Stephure (1950-2009)
You can get a lot done in life if you don’t care who gets the credit.
We first heard this expressed by author Rachel Remen, M.D. and witnessed it first hand through the actions of our friend, colleague and supporter, John Stephure.
One of John’s many fine accomplishments was to co-found Wellspring Calgary in 2007. It is here that he poured out his formidable talent, energy, resources and heart to ensure there was a place for all those affected by cancer.
John believed that the head and the heart needed to work together. Everyone who knew him could count on his integrity, steadfastness, loyalty, and benevolence. As his minister and friend expressed at his “celebration of life,” his life was a covenant, exemplified by simple promises honourably kept, across the entire spectrum of his life. He never resisted the “generous impulse,” and used his guiding mantra: Faith, Family, Friends and Fun to steer his ship of living fully with a purpose.
We will never forget the exuberant laughter that bubbled up and out at the slightest provocation and his belief that to live a good life you need to make room for fun. “Blue skies, no clouds” was John’s code for let’s go golfing. May his beloved family accept our sincere condolences for their irreplaceable loss. And may we apply the spirit of his life to our lives.
“What I’d like to say is this.
Live fully every moment of your life.
Do not wait for everything to be
threatened before you realize
the value of all you have.”
-Dr. Jane Poulson, author of The Dr. Will Not See You Now.
Written in tribute by: Trudy Boyle
A Note from Rita Egizii
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
Inspired by Mother Teresa’s tireless commitment to helping those in need, Rita’s personal directive has always been about disruption – setting in action whatever needs to be done to make the changes that are absolutely necessary to retain human dignity. Rita finds the human spirit an enigma. Her continued personal development focuses on the pursuit of what it means to be human. She strongly believes that no one can operate alone. The fragile ecosystem humans live in is one which relies on the collaboration of community.
Rita’s personal journey with cancer started in her mid 30’s and included a grim prognosis, years of aggressive therapies, several surgeries and on-going post-recovery care. Through it all, she turned to the knowledge of Western medicine and the healing influence of Indigenous and Eastern philosophies and traditions. Supported by family, friends, strangers, professional health care givers and healers from around the world, she emerged strong in her conviction to support others traveling the same path.
A passionate, often overly-exuberant changemaker, Rita often finds herself moving between king-size goals and the beauty and harmony of each daily task that serves to fulfill her purpose and intention. That intention includes an on-going profound focus of thought and behavior – embracing, on a daily basis, that if her intention is about bringing others together to help one another, then every action she takes should personify that intention. Rita is a connector, a catalyst, a high-level strategic thinker who excels at bringing people together and inspiring them to cast their own stones – and to do so with joy, love, laughter, and…pizzazz (always)!
Be innovative. Be bold. Find your unique space in the mayhem and let your voice be heard.
A Note from Barbara Cunnings
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” —Walt Disney
Barbara learned early in life that dreams can come true. With hard work, discipline, focus, and patience, she realized her dream to become a professional dancer. This realization and training set her course for the rest of her life. Dreams could come true.
When diagnosed with cancer in 1990, drawing on the strength and discipline learned, she chose to be well. Her personal financial struggle to afford the complementary therapies and nutrition that she felt were critical to her healing drove her passion and purpose. The dream became how to help others going through cancer find what they needed for healing without financial constraints.
In her own journey, Barbara strives constantly to walk her talk. This means balancing lifestyle and health, being an inspiration to others, lending an ear and shoulder when needed. Believing that there can always be a way through difficult times, her positive attitude and willingness to be brave and move forward has stood her in good stead through all her life challenges. Working hands-on through facilitating classes to enrich other people’s lives is her passion and purpose.
Barbara is also a visionary, seeking solutions for common problems, being ahead of her time with initiatives. As a connector, these visions and solutions have led her in many directions; achieving goals thought impossible, helping others reach their goals and creating a life rich in experiences.
Living a simple life captures Barbara’s values to have time for family, friends and herself. Building memories, learning, sharing, and adventures are of more value than material things.
Barbara lives by the motto above. Never shies away from a dream; believing that the impossible can be possible.