HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre is the sole Cancer Support Centre in Waterloo Region. It was founded in 1995 by a local group led by a Manulife business executive with a rare cancer. The organization seeks to empower people living with cancer by providing psychosocial/emotional (mind, body, and spirit) care. They offer approximately 40 monthly programs on topics such as stress management, sleep, exercise for symptom management, and nutrition. In addition they also offer free wigs and post mastectomy camisoles to women going through treatment. All programs are free of charge, providing maximum access to a diverse group of attendees across the region.
In January 2017, after nearly 22 years of supporting cancer patients in Waterloo and Wellington Regions, HopeSpring announced they were closing their doors. As a completely community-funded organization receiving no government funding, the ongoing pressures of rising costs and shrinking donations had led to the realization the centre could not proceed. Waterloo Region, home of one of the few provincial cancer treatment programs, would be left missing a major support for locals and those who come from afar to Grand River Regional Cancer Centre for their care.
The closure was announced in local media. Across Waterloo Region, individuals, families, and businesses stepped up to save HopeSpring. Three groups in particular jumpstarted the campaign with major donations: Trinity United Church, Strassburger Windows, and Don’s Produce.
Trinity United Church realized that HopeSpring was facing an emergency, and they were determined to help. Self described as a church that is, “not just a building, but a church made up of people,” the Trinity congregation committed themselves to funding $50,000 to HopeSpring towards the first 12-14 months while the organisation refocused. HopeSpring’s need was one that touched many people’s hearts and reflected Trinity’s goal of being a working member in their community. Local businesses, Strassburger Windows and Don’s Produce followed suit, with each team contributing large donations to keep HopeSpring’s door open to all who benefit from their services.
Now, nine months after announcing the closure, HopeSpring has achieved a sustainability and stability this year that once seemed impossible. They have partnered with and relocated to the Waterloo Inn where they continue to provide valuable support and resources. The story of HopeSpring’s rebirth is both a warning and a call to action. Many local organizations that members of our community depend on are organizations like HopeSpring that depend entirely on community generosity for their survival. Without our awareness and direct involvement, Waterloo Region could lose a valuable backbone of community support.
Please give generously on Nov 28th to help HopeSpring continue to provide these vital cancer services in our community.