My Story


We know that there are so many phenomenal stories to capture from the very people who have used HopeSpring services. Maybe it's from a friend's or loved one's perspective who saw the effects of what was working for you, maybe you are a caregiver that found that harbour in a particular program during the storm.

We know that sharing of stories can inspire and sometimes help heal others. Please take time to share your amazing story.  Please email Mary Lou to share your story...


"The package you delivered was certainly more than just a cami –  it was a very touching expression of care, and I appreciate knowing about the wide range of resources Hope Spring offers.  

I was feeling ok about my upcoming surgery, but now feel even better knowing that there's all kinds of support out there should I need it  (and also that I will have the right clothing )."

Thanks very much,

Jean

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2020, a few months after the Covid pandemic struck.  I am fortunate that I was able to access the necessary investigations and surgery and treatments  in a very quick time frame.  My mammogram and ultrasound which confirmed a mass occurred one day after I saw my family doctor.    Covid has not affected me that way. 
 But it has been a lonely journey.  That is how I would describe it in one word.   Lonely. 
 From the very beginning I was never allowed to bring a single family member with me for any appointments.  Every medical person I spoke to wore a mask and often a face shield.  With my hearing deficit, I often had difficulty understanding what was being said to me, especially if the medical person spoke with an accent I was not familiar with. So only the very basic needed talking was done.    Many of my appointments were over the phone, which lacked a personal element.  I never connected with any other patients at the cancer centre.  It was too difficult to try to have a conversation with masks on while keeping the 6 feet physical distance.  There were no volunteers, the resource centre was closed.  My experience at the cancer centre was efficient for the most part, but sterile.  And lonely.  Listening to music on my smart phone with headphones was my salvation. 
On the morning of my mastectomy surgery I lay on a stretcher in Grand River Hospital for several hours staring at the ceiling.  Nobody to talk to.  I felt a very disconnected feeling to what was going on or to any other person on the planet.  It was challenging to keep those panicky feelings at bay. 
I heard about Hope Springs from the receptionist at my surgeons office.  She gave me a phone number to contact to get a mastectomy camisole.  Otherwise, I’m not sure how I would have heard about it. 
I did connect with some of the Hope Springs programs online, and did find them helpful.  I joined a women’s support group for awhile, and a few exercise classes.  But it was only online, and so the connection with others was definitely limited.  I have really never spoken in person with any other cancer patient  going through the same thing as me during my journey. 
The one thing that helped me the most in this journey has been the facebook support group I joined called Ontario Breast Cancer Support Group.  I simply searched for a group in facebook, and came upon this group.  I have felt a camaraderie with these other women in a very significant way.   I found out things through this group that I never heard about in any other way.  For example, when chemotherapy kills all your hair cells, including the hair in your nose, your nose runs a lot.  I had worried about always needing a tissue to blow my nose, was I coming down with something?  So I found out this was not unusual at all.  And I was able to post a picture of my bald head there, and received a lot of empathetic support. 
I also want to put in a plug for the NuMe Boutique in Kitchener.  During a time when I felt so alone and had so many questions, I found the staff there very helpful in making the process so “normal” and giving practical advice and tips. 
All in all, I certainly appreciate the timely medical care I have received.  I definitely realize that in Canada I am so fortunate to have excellent care paid for by my provincial government. 
It is just unfortunate that the personal elements of support during a cancer journey were very limited in the time of a pandemic. 
Thank you,
Mary FM

This is a very traumatic time in my life going through breast cancer and Hope Springs has been there for me in more ways than I can explain. Nohelia has been amazing, taking her time to assist me to find the right wig to wear as this is the first time I have ever experienced this. The wig is top quality and I have received several compliments.

I have seen first hand where all the generous donations go and how extremely important they are. My mom is in a home and I have tried to keep my cancer news from her as she doesn’t need to worry. This news would traumatize her. I was able to visit her in a safe environment with my wig and she didn’t notice a difference. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I like other women going through cancer really need and appreciate all Hope Springs does. 

 

Warm Regards 

K.



Madonna Scott (recent photo) shares her story with valuable tips that worked during her healing process.

My Story
By Madonna Scott

Proud to say that I have been cancer free for 5 yrs and have also completed the required rounds of anastrozole medication during that time.

Originally, I found a small pea-sized lump in my right breast when I was lying flat on my back after a dreadful car accident.
The resulting stress, PTSD, x-rays, doctors visits, chiropractors, all took a "bite out of me".



01/06/15, was the date etched in my mind-of when my biopsy was completed. Surgery came in March 2015 and had finished 16 radiation treatments by May 2015. My birthday in May that year was celebrated by bringing birthday cake for the radiologists.

I am grateful for the remarkable team at Cambridge Memorial Hospital and the Kitchener Cancer Clinic. I also want to thank HopeSpring for taking care of me with the Look Good Feel Better program, the Yoga Meditation and amazing Reiki.

Madonna's Updates: I was so impressed by the Reiki Practitioner, that when I moved back home, I studied Reiki 1 and Reiki 2, so that I may return the favour and give free reiki sessions to other women recovering from cancer. "It is so rewarding to give back!  Reiki rocks!"

 

"My recommendation is self-check, that's how I found that "C" and because it was found in the early stages, was able to get it out of me so quickly."

"Self check is key to survival".
Sincerely Madonna
Try-Reiki for healing

Dot Kohler, sharing of our stories

In the Sharing of Our Stories
by Dot Kohler

So just after supper, I picked up an urgent message that an echocardiogram was booked for 07:30 the next morning. I was up north, three hours away and so packed up the car and started the drive back home, tears falling (sad, angry, disappointed, maybe all three). This is normal I think when life gets interrupted. I was just at the start of my journey with breast cancer.

Those tears disappeared by the time I hit the 401 (music is good for the soul); it was dark and pouring great big splats on the windshield making it hard to see and I was sure someone had erased those little white lines separating the lanes. I got that sick panicky feeling that at any moment I would careen off the road, or worse, into someone else’s lane, so I hit the hazards button.  Two cars, one on either side of my centre lane came up beside me also threw on their hazard lights, and for a brief few moments, the three of us pretty much side by side navigated the treacherous downpour. 

Exactly this is what I’ve experienced in a thunderous way in my own life. People coming alongside me, sometimes not saying very much but just being present — listening. I joined HopeSpring’s Women’s Cancer Support group on Tuesday nights. For introverts, this is such a huge step and yet, even now when we are meeting via Zoom, my heart sinks if I miss a meeting. A while back, I wrote:

In the sharing of our stories,

it's not like we hand over 

pieces of ourselves,

parcel out our pain,

expecting others to take it away,

to rescue us.

Somehow 

in our talking and listening

in breathing out and taking in 

the hard and confusing and funny parts,

something shifts:

we find our own words

and discover 

we no longer need to hold everything,

feel the entire weight ourselves.

The miracle is 

we all 

leave lighter.

I often feel this whole journey with breast cancer is a bit like driving in the dark with the thudding rain where I see just one or two little dotted lines on the road, where the destination is not yet in sight. I’m so very grateful for my circle of friends;  for the many ways that HopeSpring comes along side offering really creative, practical, caring support.






"The two volunteers who helped me choose the appropriate wig were very helpful, friendly and kind. I was so impressed with their compassion towards me. The wig has restored my identity and my dignity, an immense help in this cancer journey."

Anne


"Hearing the word cancer was a very scary and frightening word to hear for me. I was the first of my family to be diagnosed with two different cancers in a short period of time! First was my 3rd stage (borderline 4th stage) colon cancer in 2001 and then 1 year and 9 months after chemo, I was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma of the thyroid. Now I know that I have a family history of bowel and breast cancers on my Dad's side but I never expected to have two cancers myself in such a short period of time! This has been a huge wake up call for me and it's just so nice knowing that there is a support centre like HopeSpring to offer services that will help me through my journey! I can never thank them enough for being there for me at my greatest time of need! It was just so reassuring to know that I was not alone in this journey!"

Sophia Stanwyck


"HopeSpring is many things to many people. I am continually grateful for the warmth and openness that is shared here."

Anne Marie Mingiardi


"Chloe will be coming this Sat. I am so thankful for this program. Chloe was excited to come for and talked for days about the SOAR program which is amazing for her because in the past she has not wanted to even discuss cancer. Your program and meeting other children facing the same thing was reassuring for her. Thank you so much. What an important program to run"

Wendy S.


"Thank you as well for making such a difference in the lives of these young children who have been touched by cancer. I knew SOAR was beneficial but I can see now how really important it is. It is such a difficult thing for young children to process but SOAR helps Bre with this so much […] her angry out bursts have left since the activities you and your volunteers did with her this week"

Jenn G.


"Thank you for the amazing work you and your team do. Shea is really enjoying the program and thinks you ladies are great. She absolutely loves the program and all the people involved with SOAR. She enjoys telling me all about it when she gets home"

Kim G.


"HopeSpring gives us a cozy feeling know there are other kids having the same issues and that there is a way to comfort the frustrations of the side effects of cancer in the household. It is a blessing to have this support."

Dave Dahl


"I had the opportunity to receive one of the Henna Crowns from Bhupi yesterday during one of the workshops at Hopespring.  The crown is absolutely gorgeous and she was energetic, professional, fun and most of all human!  Something the world needs more of.  Bhupi made sure the henna design works into my existing shoulder and arm ink, as well as taking the time to do a small hand piece for my best friend, who has been to every fun and not so fun appointment since the beginning.   

I know the henna tattoo is right for me as I am not comfortable in a wig or hat, unless the hat is for winter warmth outside.  Even last night, as I sat in the movie theatre, the positive comments, quiet smiles and nods are worth it.   Cancer should not be hidden: there are too many of us that go through it spending unnecessary energy hiding who we are for months and too many who do not have enough support.  To the current generations in love with body art and self-expression, the opportunity to have a crown, however temporary is both empowering and a lifestyle choice that not only suits but rings true with friends and family.    

Thank you again for the opportunity - you have no idea how much I looked forward to it and how excited I am to show it off!"


Tanya Olsen


"In 1998 after having breast cancer, I came to the yoga class. Beth Sellars was such a caring person in the way she taught the class. It certainly helped my healing; it was such a calming place to come to. I have donated ever since."

Mary Peters


"Thank you for all the warmth and comfort you provided. It means more than you could ever know."

Tracy


HopeSpring means to me warmth, a place where most people are nonjudgmental, caring and willing to do whatever is needed to support those on this cancer journey, whether directly or indirectly. HopeSpring values everyone. I feel grateful for HopeSpring and all who work and volunteer there. I hope to be able to volunteer later on.

Magnell


"HopeSpring means comfort, refuge, peace & hope."

anonymous

"HopeSpring is a chance to take time for myself and be present with others who share our experiences and journey, even if we don't say a word..."

anonymous


HopeSpring has become a foundation to me. A place I attended programs with my Mom before she passed. I continue to attend programs with people - friends that have become my HopeSpring family.

anonymous


"Came to HopeSpring today to manage my negative thoughts"

anonymous


"HopeSpring is the only place that has given me hope since my diagnosis."

anonymous


"HopeSpring is a chance for me to be around other survivors who understand what you are going through, share ideas & celebrate triumphs.  All the free programs are such a blessing and a huge part of my ongoing recovery process.  They give me strength and inspiration to being performing my music again!  HopeSpring is always a welcoming, relaxing, supportive place for anyone facing the challenges of cancer."

Faith Walker


"My life turned upside down when I discovered I had cancer. Things happened really fast. All of a sudden medical appointments took first priority and managing side effects of the cancer treatment became a close second.

I had heard about the Healing Journey program at HopeSpring and decided to check it out. I felt an enormous sense of relief by talking to others who had gone through similar treatment. It didn't take long before I found my stress level decreasing and my focus on healing increasing. With the support of others in this group, I discovered coping skills that worked for me, and an opportunity to turn my cancer journey into a healing journey."

Bridget Brown


"At first I thought I could get through this on my own. Then a deep level of fear swept through me that I couldn't possibly share with those closest to me. I had to protect them from understanding the enormous dark weight of it all. When I reached out to HopeSpring they met with me to calmly bring me out of my panic attack. I was able to share my fears and doubts with them, knowing that they would understand and were there to listen and to help."

Diane Tutton


"The support groups have been amazing. Tools for the Journey was the first one I went to. I go to the Tuesday morning group (Women's support group in Cambridge) and it's very helpful to talk things out - get others' perspective and help  advice about meds and everything else."

anonymous


"They helped me cope with breast cancer and I felt supported by the group and the kindness we show to each other."

anonymous


"My cancer support group is the ONLY place where I feel normal during my cancer sickness. I am emotionally and mentally encouraged each and every time I meet."

anonymous


"It  (HopeSpring) has given me the opportunity to explore options for relaxation/healing (Reiki for example), for connection and learning (support group_ and a sense of 'community' during a very tough time."

anonymous


"It (HopeSpring) has helped me to cope with cancer just by being around others who are going through the same as myself. At HopeSpring, we can share each others' views and ups and downs and it helps me deal with my problems in a better light"

anonymous


"HopeSpring means empowerment, hope, health, life and new beginnings."

anonymous


"First of all I live in Cambridge - so it is more accessible.  And when you are not feeling well - the last thing you want to do is drive a great distance for programs.  There was many times I went to yoga feeling terrible from chemo/radiation and came out feeling so much better.  Plus seeing faces that had survived through many a struggle, seeing the difference these programs have made in their lives and getting encouragement from the instructor or those that attended made a huge difference in the course of my recovery."

Kim Turner


"HopeSpring has helped in so many ways.  Specifically the wig boutique and the very caring manner that I was helped at a difficult time. The options of Reiki, Reflexology and Gentle Yoga helped me thru the times I had no energy, didn't want to be out in public and overall gave me a better sense of wellbeing throughout my treatments."

anonymous


"When I was first diagnosed, it was the place I went to first - before surgeons or cancer doctors I saw others who had gone through exactly what I was facing. I picked up confidence that I would survive. I picked up good tips (take a tape recorder to all oncology sessions) and I learned to have a sense of humour regarding my situation."

anonymous


"Through the yoga programmes, I have been better able to cope with the  presence and uncertainties of caregiving. We are now on our second cancer and the uncertainty. Thrive yoga is extremely important in this process."

anonymous


"Helped me emotionally and physically with my pain."

anonymous


"It was really good to be able to talk to someone in our community who could guide me along my road to recovery."

anonymous


"Meeting some amazing people, while I am also able to give my time as a volunteer to a REALLY GREAT CAUSE & EFFORT & SUCCESSES."

Leslie


"HopeSpring helped me to stay positive through my cancer journey with offering special classes and healing sessions. The staff always made me feel special. I can't thank HopeSpring enough."

Janice Whitehead



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