Putting for a personal cause
Stephanie Kirby put Wellspring Calgary forward as a charity of choice for the 2021 MortgageLine golf tournament. Why? Because she knows all too well, how important it is to have support when faced with cancer.
“Cancer has taken a huge toll on my family,” said Stephanie, mentioning that her mom was diagnosed with melanoma three years ago, and she lost a cousin to breast cancer 5 years ago. “For me personally, I don’t know what I would have done without Wellspring when I needed support,” said Stephanie.
Stephanie learned she had ductile carcinoma breast cancer on December 24, 2019. “I had actually gone to see my GP about something totally unrelated. I mentioned to her that my nipple was sore, but I wasn’t even thinking about cancer – I’d had a mammogram six months prior and it was clear. My GP didn’t see anything but she is so thorough, she sent me for an ultrasound and another mammogram. I am so grateful – she saved my life,” said Stephanie.
Stephanie’s cancer was so aggressive; her oncologist recommended a double mastectomy and was pressing for surgery quickly.
“I was in shock. I needed time to process, but we didn’t really have time. I had the surgery on February 6, and at the same time, I chose to have the reconstruction surgery. I was allergic to the stitches so I ended up needing five more surgeries. It was a nightmare. I spent almost seven months sleeping in an electric recliner because I couldn’t sleep in my bed,” she shared.
Stephanie’s husband and son were her 24-hour caregivers. “They were amazing. I wouldn’t be here without them,” she said. “But it was incredibly hard for them to see me suffering, and I felt so bad for all they had to do for me.”
In the hospital, someone introduced Stephanie to Wellspring Calgary and she reached out for some much-needed support. “I can’t say enough about Wellspring. I feel like they totally saved us all. I have never felt so supported and so loved … complete strangers became like friends, they totally cared about how I was feeling,” she said.
Stephanie took an exercise program tailored to people living with cancer, and she continues to enjoy Wellspring’s peer support program. “I have this amazing support person who calls me and we can talk about anything. She totally knows what I’m going through and she has helped me so much – she even referred me to oncology physiotherapy,” she said.
Her husband and son have also benefitted from peer support calls from trained Wellspring volunteers.
“I was unemployed for almost a year and a half, so there is no way I would have the funds for all that Wellspring provide – but it’s all free! I am so grateful. I can’t say enough about Wellspring.”