Written by Emily Killin, Nancy’s daughter

My mother, Nancy Killin, has been a member of Wellspring for over two years. Over the last two months, my father, my siblings and I raised donations in her name to support Wellspring’s Birmingham Gilgan House. It has been a meaningful project for us because it gave us the chance to give back to a place that is uniquely my mother’s. It also gave us a chance to connect with the organization and learn about its programs and its importance in the lives of so many people. In some ways, it has allowed us to see Wellspring the way my mother sees it.

 Wellspring is the first social venue my mother visited after her surgery in 2012 and the first place she went when she felt strong enough to leave the house this past winter. The centre’s importance in my mother’s life is extremely evident to everyone who knows her, but it was not until this fundraising effort that I asked her to tell me its significance in her own words. She whittled it down to a list of descriptors. To her, Wellspring is supportive, non-judgmental, welcoming, safe, relevant, current, and interesting.

 Cancer is a difficult illness for loved ones to understand. We try our best to empathize with our mother’s pain, but there are times when it feels as though a veil goes up between us. Our conversations and concerns are part of a routine that was normal before her illness. Her diagnosis comes with its own set of uncertainties.

 Wellspring helps her address those issues. The staff consistently support her and helped her enrol in the Healing Journey, her first program at Wellspring and her first step in coping with the psychological implications of her diagnosis. No one judges her or pries for information the way family and friends can in their attempts to understand how she is feeling. All the staff are very welcoming. They promptly call when there are cancellations in appointments or programs my mother wants to attend. Over two years of attendance, my mother has taken classes that reflect current trends and interests. These classes remain relevant to her spiritual and physical health.

 When I began to write this article, I asked my mother if there were any stories she could share with me from her time there. “No,” she answered. “We know what is shared at Wellspring stays at Wellspring.” My mother knows her private thoughts and feelings are well protected amongst friends at Wellspring.

 I am glad that my mother has a place like Wellspring. For that reason, my family and I enlisted the help of our family and friends to raise money for Wellspring’s programs. We will watch with pride as our Warrior mother travels with Wellspring to New Orleans this fall for the annual peloton. The rest of the family is glad to have broken the ice with Wellspring through our fundraising. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Wellspring and becoming increasingly a part of the community that has shown our mother so much love.