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When you visit the downtown Y in London there is a large sign in the atrium "Wellspring London Cancer Support Center." that I see every morning.

Recently I met with the the Program Director, Daniel Lockwood, who graciously welcomed me into the library to share his insights.

"Wellspring is part of a network of seven centers across Canada that provides a wide range of support programs and services at no charge to meet the emotional, social, psychological and information needs of people living with cancer."

Daniel spoke with pride of the collective heart and essence of Wellspring where the ninety volunteers who graciously give of their time to help people who are living with and trying to cope with cancer. The primary care givers who themselves have gone through the difficult journey have learned to cope and extend a welcoming hand to those who are in need.

The 450-500 new members a year are greeted by the volunteers who welcome them with a smile and a warm cup of tea/coffee and a brief tour of the facilities. The volunteers man the front desk/answer the phone and refer people with cancer concerns to the peer support volunteers There is no need for a time consuming referrals with all requests being self -referred.

All information gleaned by the volunteers from the discussions are confidential and one can feel safe in the knowledge that your questions/fears are taken seriously. There are no judgmental aspersions for one’s life style with everyone accepted on their own merits.

There is absolutely no cost to you to take part in the many programs offered by Wellspring. There are twenty different support programs for the members to take part in: Nutrition Sessions, Support Groups such as Bereavement Support Groups. Peer Support, Restorative Yoga, Tai Chi, Aquafit Therapy, Art Therapy, Cancer exercise programs to name a few all led by paid professionals.

There are no time limits placed on those who have confronted cancer in their lives. The clock does not mandate the time in which one receives assistance to help with the effects of cancer.

Cancer does not discriminate between young and old, rich or poor, ethnicity, black or white, religion, male or female. Cancer is an insidious horrible illness that kills millions of people every year around the world. If you have been diagnosed with a malignancy you are most fortunate to be cancer free for five years . If you have never had cancer there is no guarantee that you will not one day become a patient, We can all pray for a cure but until the miracle presents itself we can thank God for Wellspring that offers up welcoming informed help in our time of need.

Wellspring’s is open Monday to Friday 9-4 along with some evening hours twelve months a year. Phone messages are answered the following morning.

Wellspring’s mandate : " To provide a warm and supportive gathering place for people living with cancer, and those who care for them."

How can we help? You can volunteer your time, raise public awareness, or make a donation that is tax deductible. Wellspring receives no government funding and is not associated with any health care agencies and relies on community support to keep the doors open.

You can access Wellspring at 382 Waterloo St., London, Ont. N6B 2N8, 519 438-7379, www.wellspringlondon.ca

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com