Our History

Our History

Founded in 1995 by a group of dedicated individuals, HopeSpring was created to provide vital information and life-affirming programs, services and support to Waterloo Region residents affected by cancer.

Our primary goal, then and now, is empowering people with knowledge, support and healing tools to assist them with their cancer experience.

Thousands of people have used our programs and services which are based on the four pillars of wellness: proper nutrition, stress management, gentle exercise and better sleep. HopeSpring's core program, "Tools for the Healing Journey", was created by Dr. Alastair Cunningham, a senior scientist with Princess Margaret Hospital and the Ontario Cancer Institute. Dr. Cunningham received the Order of Canada for his groundbreaking work on the effects of mental therapies, particularly those dealing with mind-body interactions, as an adjunct to medical treatment for cancer. HopeSpring's programs offer support and teach coping skills such as relaxation, positive mental imagery and goal setting, greatly improving the patient's mood, sense of control and quality of life.

HopeSpring's first home was the Kuntz House on King Street in Waterloo, and programs were introduced in January 1996. In 1997, HopeSpring moved to 43 Allen Street West in Waterloo. In 2006, a second location in Cambridge was established at 51 Cambridge Street in Cambridge for four years. Cambridge is now served through the HopeSpring partnership with the Chaplin Family YMCA in Cambridge on Hespeler Road.

In March 2012, HopeSpring moved to an expanded facility in the Conrad Medical Centre at 16 Andrew Street in Kitchener. The Andrew Street facility provided nearly twice the size of the previous location, and included a wig boutique, kitchen, dedicated peer support and relaxation therapy rooms, yoga room, program room, and was fully accessible.

January 2013 saw the beginning of services in Guelph through a partnership with the Guelph Family Health Team. Offerings included programs, workshops, relaxation therapies as well as wig and camisole fittings. This pilot closed in Fall of 2014 as a cost saving measure. We look forward to providing programs and services directly in Guelph again when the opportunity arises.  In the mean time we welcome our Guelph residents to attend programs in either of our Cambridge or Waterloo locations.

In January 2017, after nearly 22 years of supporting cancer patients in Waterloo and Wellington Regions, HopeSpring announced we were closing our 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 jump started 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 with a strengthened balance sheet, a new Board of Directors and new Operation’s leadership in place, HopeSpring is fully focused on the future and taking an open approach to creating even greater strategic focus to serve the cancer patients, their families and caregivers in our community. We have partnered with and relocated to the Waterloo Inn where we continue to provide valuable support and resources.

HopeSpring is a not-for-profit organization that does not receive government funding and depends upon donations from organizations and individuals in our Region. We are proud to have strong community support from local companies and groups. We greatly value each and every donation of time and money that helps to ensure that HopeSpring's programs and services will be sustained well into the future.

HopeSpring is an autonomous organization with its own Board of Directors. HopeSpring enjoys a strong and supportive working relationship with area hospitals, hospices and cancer support groups. You can find links to these organizations on this website. For a more complete history of HopeSpring, please call or visit us.


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