Wellspring CEO enters the race
Natalie Noble doesn’t consider herself a climber and isn’t overly competitive by nature. While she does enjoy a view from the top, a race involving stairs to get there has never been on her bucket list.
All of this changed in March when Natalie was having dinner with close friends and after recently learning one had been diagnosed with cancer.
“These people mean the world to me. They are friends and mentors who have invested in my leadership, and in me personally. They are also deeply invested in Wellspring – long-time supporters, donors, advocates and volunteers,” said Noble.
During the dinner Natalie shared that her family has also recently been impacted by cancer – her father recently received a diagnosis. The conversation drifted to the hard truth … one in two will experience cancer in their lifetime. The reality hit home … then took an upward turn.
Conduit of Change
In this circle of friends, when it comes to cancer, Wellspring is never far from the conversation. All parties at the table would attest to the fact that one naturally leads to the other.
“We were talking about Wellspring’s signature event, the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge in Calgary on June 11,” she said. The only way for civilians to participate in the event is to raise a significant amount of donations and “challenge the chief” with a race to the top. Natalie’s friend facing cancer said, “Natalie – you should sign up for it! If you Challenge the Chief, I’ll support you by making a sizable donation.”
“It scared the heck out of me. I mean this is really out of my comfort zone. But at the same time, I was struck by this riveting thought that instead of just being bad news, cancer can be transformative. It can be a conduit of change for the person diagnosed, and for their family and friends,” she said.
In that split second, Natalie was overwhelmed with inspiration and she knew she would choose transformation.
Calgary’s Tallest Tower
Brookfield Place became Natalie’s new epic adventure. Less than a week later, on her birthday, she signed up for the challenge, then she set in motion a rigorous routine of healthy eating, vigorous training, and fundraising.
“I’ve made some big adjustments to my diet and I’m already much healthier for it. My friends are all on board – joining me on mountain hikes and helping me get in shape for this,” she said. “I’m doing this for my dad, and for my friend, and for everyone else facing cancer. And just as importantly, I’m doing this for me. I want to seize this opportunity to transform into a better, healthier me.”
Beyond Regional Boundaries
The Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge brings in participants from all across the province, and beyond. Natalie is eagerly anticipating this upcoming event that promises to unite individuals from throughout Alberta.
Born and raised in Red Deer, Natalie proudly boasts loyalty to the Oilers and the Flames. More importantly, she feels that her centrally located roots helped ground her perspective, as she and other Wellspring leaders worked to knit together Wellspring Calgary and Wellspring Edmonton to become a united, more inclusive, province-wide Wellspring Alberta in the fall of 2022.
“The merger has been an incredible success,” said Natalie. “The pandemic fundamentally changed all of us – at Wellspring, it made us take a hard look at our business model.” Prior to the pandemic, the Wellspring houses – one in Edmonton and two in Calgary – were core to the service delivery model. When they shut down, the team knew they needed a solution for the people they served. They moved all the programs online in just one weekend! With online programming in place, the regional boundaries between Edmonton and Calgary did not make sense, and the brave decision to merge into one provincial organization took shape. In the fall of 2022, Wellspring Alberta was formed, and is now serving more than 100 communities across the province and beyond and growing every day!
While Natalie trains and mentally prepares for the June 11 stairclimb, she is keenly aware that cancer hitting home has already changed her.
“It’s all around us – we really can’t hide from it. Cancer will impact us all on some level at some point. For me, it became a choice about how I would engage with it.
So here’s where I’m going with this … I will raise all the money I can for this incredible organization that helps hundreds of people survive the emotional effects of cancer. I will get myself in the best shape I can, and be healthier for it. And then I’ll climb my heart out … and one way or another, I’ll see that light at the top.”