Kris Dube – The Welland Tribune
Wellspring Niagara has shifted all its programming online to keep connected with cancer patients, survivors and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ann Mantini-Celima, executive director of the non-profit organization that serves all of Niagara with a number of coping and support services, said its headquarters in Fonthill has been closed for weeks. But staff and volunteers are making sure the people who need them are only a couple of mouse clicks away.
The way in which programs are being offered online isn’t set in stone, she said.
“We’re changing them every week, building them up based on members’ feedback,” she said.
The global health crisis is just another cause of concern for people affected by cancer. Programming continues online at Wellspring for its clients. – Kris Dube , Torstar file photo
Wellspring Niagara is also partnering with its affiliate in Toronto to deliver programs.
Clients who do not have access to the internet are being reached by phone. Anyone with questions and concerns, or in need of someone to talk to, is encouraged to call and leave a voicemail. It won’t take long for someone to call back, said Mantini-Celima.
“We’re checking messages all the time.”
The global health crisis is just another cause of concern for people affected by cancer.
“They were already dealing with a lot of anxiety, stress, fear before all of this happened,” Mantini-Celima said.
“This is a double-whammy for some of our members.”
Clients, current and new, can reach out by phone or find information about program scheduling at wellspring.ca.
“We want people to know we’re here for them.”
The pandemic is giving cancer patients and their families something else to cope with, but most appear to be glad Wellspring Niagara hasn’t ceased operations in recent weeks, she said.
“They are appreciative, at least, that we are doing something, and they have a way of staying connected.”
Wellspring Niagara has close to 1,000 members. Membership forms for new clients are available on Wellspring Niagara’s website. Its phone number is 905-684-7619.
Mantini-Celima said the organization will continue to adapt to the pandemic as it evolves.
** Wellspring Niagara first opened its doors in June 2001 with a mission to provide free social, emotional, psychological, informational and spiritual support to individuals living with cancer, their families and close supporters. As a not-for-profit, charitable organization, Wellspring Niagara relies solely on the financial support of the community it serves, the Niagara region. **