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2021 Gratitude ReportSteady in turbulent times

Looking at the work of Wellspring Calgary last year, we celebrate having moved beyond pandemic survival mode to truly thriving as we delivered on our mission.

Our Mission

Our biggest learning from 2021 was embracing our “online house.” At Wellspring we place great value in creating warm, welcoming spaces where people gather, share and learn together. Without the ability to be in person, our only option was to go virtual.

Turns out, online programming was a tremendous success. Not only did we continue to serve those living with cancer but attracted many more to join the Wellspring family. Suddenly, program opportunities existed beyond geographical borders, with no need to travel, pack up the kids, or do any of the many other actions that can sometimes be too great a drain on any given day to a person living with cancer. You can be assured; online programming is here to stay while we also focus on opening our centres to in-person programming.

Fortifying financial growth

We continued to fund our work with the support of our amazing donors who stayed the course with us:

  • The 2021 Light it Up year-end matching campaign raised $556,615, making it our most successful matching campaign ever.
  • Our Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge was a fully virtual event, resulting in more online engagement than we’ve ever seen before, to raise awareness of Wellspring as well as essential, sustaining funding.
Strength in strategy

In 2021, Natalie Noble joined the team as our CEO. Under her leadership, we’ve been looking ahead to what’s next. That was most visible as we launched our five-year strategic plan, created by the team and the board, to ensure a bright future for Wellspring. The plan reaffirms our vision that no one has to face cancer alone and guides our actions as we evolve. Learn more about our strategic plan.

One of our first priorities of 2021 as we entered year one of our five-year plan, was to begin to address our diversity and inclusion (D&I) imperative with four major initiatives:

  • Becoming a Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion employer partner
  • Offering immersive D&I training for staff and board members
  • Conducting a baseline internal Diversity Census and Inclusion survey facilitated by CCDI
  • Initiating our new D&I Advisory Roundtable to amplify voices of Indigenous, racialized, S2LGBTQ+, newcomers and rural residents with lived cancer experience to inform Wellspring Calgary’s operations.

While our D&I work is initially an important part of our five-year strategic plan, it won’t end there. D&I will now be included in our ongoing annual planning and actions.

Continued impact

As we carefully reopen our physical centres, we are preparing for an increase in demand for our services, as our health system catches up to cancer screenings and diagnoses that have gone unchecked for the past two years. This, combined with our growth in people served through online programming, has us poised for meeting the needs of more people living with cancer than ever before.

From the day we opened our doors in 2007, and every day since, those we serve – people living with cancer, their caregivers and their families – have remained our number one priority. We extend our sincere gratitude to all of you, our celebrated supporters, who continue to wholeheartedly share in this singular mission.

Bill Gilliland, Chair            Natalie Noble, CEO

Our Vision

No one has to face cancer alone.

2021 Highlights

Our programs were accessed over:
times in 2021
90 volunteers contributed:
volunteer hours
participants came from:
southern Alberta communities

Reaching further

In 2021, more people joined from communities greater than 100km from Calgary than ever before.

Supporting more people than ever

Throughout 2021, we supported more people living with cancer than any other year.

The need is greater than ever

1 in 2 Albertans will develop cancer in their lifetime. Over 11,000 new cancer cases are projected for southern Alberta in 2022 alone.[1]

It is projected that the number of cancer diagnoses in Canada in 2030 will be almost 80% greater than the number diagnosed in 2005.[2]

People served by program pillar

People served by participant type

People served by program pillar

People served by participant type

People served by age range

In our 2021 online program evaluation surveys*, Wellspring Calgary participants agreed or strongly agreed that they:


feel they have gained skills and knowledge to maintain or improve their wellbeing


would participate in online programs in the future


felt less isolated after participating at Wellspring Calgary 


would recommend Wellspring Calgary to a friend

*Based on 4,300 responses.

2021 Finance
2021 Revenue
Event revenue & donations
Government assistance (COVID-19 grants)
Investment income
Donated securities
Recovery of expenses
Amortization of deferred contributions
Total revenue
2021 Expenses
Total expenses

2021 Matching Campaign

Last year, we received 772 donations for our annual campaign making it our most successful year-end fundraising campaign to date. Thank you for giving so generously in support of Albertans facing cancer!


$ 0
in matching contributions from 10 champions


$ 0
in year-end campaign funds raised
together we raised
$ 0

When the pandemic shifted programs to an online community, Becky Trussell missed the joy of being together in centres, but her love of Wellspring never waned. She continued to participate online and donating to an organization she calls ‘magic’ and ‘life changing.’

“Why would I not give to a place that is so full of joy, peace and healing? It’s a community that has given me and so many others so much comfort and meaning. Wellspring is life changing — it gave me my life back. You can’t put a price on that – it’s gold.”

2021 Milestones

Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

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Indigenous Cancer Sharing Circle

The Indigenous Cancer Sharing Circle is a new online monthly gathering for Indigenous adults living with cancer and caregivers. The goal is to create a safe space to welcome all Nations across the province to connect, share experiences, and build a caring and supportive community. With a vision to ensure no one has to face cancer alone, this circle is co-led by an Indigenous Elder and a Wellspring program leader. Elders offer connection to culture, clarity, wisdom and insights through storytelling. Many have expressed gratitude for the presence of an Elder to create sacred space to have these important conversations.

The program was co-created by three Indigenous Elders: Casey Eaglespeaker, Gilman Cardinal and Ernie Poundmaker. Wellspring Calgary thanks the following for making our Sharing Circle possible:

  • Arrow Bigsmoke, Indigenous Patient Navigator, Danielle Petricone-Westwood, Psychosocial Oncology Fellow, Cancer Care Alberta
  • with the support of Laura Labelle, Supportive Care Lead, South, Cancer Care Alberta and
  • Deb Allat, Manager, Education and Patient Experience, Cancer Care Alberta
  • Ariel Learoyd, Program Leader, Nancy Bilodeau, Centre Manager and Sheena Clifford, Chief Operating Officer at Wellspring Calgary

Wellspring Calgary and our colleagues at Cancer Care Alberta work together on educational opportunities to increase the awareness of Wellspring Calgary, improve our internal cultural competency, and promote this unique provincial program only offered at Wellspring Calgary. 


“The Indigenous Cancer Sharing Circle has been absolutely unbelievable … a life-changer for me. As you share your stories or experiences you feel heard and understood. You feel like these people really care about you. To hear other people share their challenges or issues is comforting. It reaffirms that you are not in this scary situation by yourself.” – Donna Ouellette

Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Round Table

Volunteers and Wellspring Calgary leadership launched the D&I Advisory Round Table in November 2021 to amplify voices of Indigenous, racialized, S2LGBTQ2+, newcomers and rural residents with lived cancer experience to advise on Wellspring Calgary D&I initiatives.

The Round Table creates a safe space to have the necessary conversations for growth and learning and realize a Wellspring Calgary where everyone living with cancer can see themselves belonging.

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Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI)

The language we use is vitally important. To support our self-awareness, Wellspring Calgary Board and staff were trained on D&I immersion by CCDI on definitions, the business case, conscious and unconscious bias, and strategies for continual improvement.

Wellspring Calgary became an Employer Partner (one of over 600) with CCDI in April 2021. CCDI helped us launch a baseline internal Diversity Census and Inclusion Survey in November 2021. We had an excellent completion rate of 75% from our internal team of Board members, staff, program leaders and volunteers. Wellspring Calgary scored very high or high on all inclusion indicators; significantly higher compared to the CCDI baseline.

We have a significant amount of work to do to ensure no one faces cancer alone, including improving our diversification of people in leadership and board positions and in the organization overall. The final product of this initiative includes a report with recommendations to inform our future D&I imperative roadmap.    

Reaching southern Albertans outside of Calgary

2021 was the second year of our Southern Alberta Strategy supported by Alberta Cancer Foundation. Our goal is to co-create sustainable cancer support communities throughout the region. Online programming and telephone-based support have allowed us to support more people from across southern Alberta than ever before.

From March 2020 through December 2021, the Southern Alberta Strategy helped Wellspring Calgary to serve 368 people living with cancer outside of Calgary. This is primarily driven by people living more than 100km from Calgary, which has seen more than 180% growth in people served. Prior to the launch of the Southern Alberta Strategy, many people living in communities more than 100km away didn’t know about Wellspring. Increased awareness combined with the launch of online programs and telephone support, means that people living with cancer in regional and rural communities now not only know about Wellspring but can benefit from the programs and services we provide. By the end of 2021, Wellspring Calgary has served 58 communities throughout southern Alberta since implementation began in March 2020.

Due to serving a high risk population and COVID-19 regulations, we were unable to host in-person programming during 2021, including in-person pilot programs and community engagement. The aim is to operate in a new model of both online and in-person programs, including in-person southern Alberta pilot initiatives and community outreach. 


“I would say to anyone who has cancer, sign up for Wellspring support and whatever else you do, don’t miss it! There is nothing worse than thinking you are the only one in the world with this problem. Everyone battling cancer should know about Wellspring. When you meet others who understand and can relate, it recharges your hope.” – Trevor Hamon – Raymond, Alberta.

Wellspring features

Thank you!

Thank you for your continued support of Wellspring Calgary!

You have provided stability for those living with cancer in a very unstable time in our history.

You have ensured the resiliency of Wellspring Calgary this past year, and for years to come.

Because of YouIn 2022 Wellspring Calgary will:

Expand services to reach more Albertans living with cancer including their caregivers and children

Prepare for an increase in demand and distress as a result of delayed cancer diagnoses because of COVID-19

Provide comfort and connection by sustaining our virtual programs while also planning to reopen our centres

Reduce the demands on the healthcare system by assisting people to manage the emotional, physical and practical issues that cancer brings

[1] Source: Surveillance & Reporting: The 2021 Report on Canadian Statistics in Alberta.  Edmonton: Cancer Care Alberta, Alberta Health Services, 2021:

[2] Source: Alberta Health Services. Changing our future: Alberta’s cancer plan to 2030. (February 2013). Alberta Health Services: