CALGARY -- It’s a challenging time at Wellspring Calgary.

The charity offers a variety of programs for members who are in various stages of their cancer journeys, along with the people who care about them.

But its two Calgary locations were forced to close their doors because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now staff and volunteers have come up with a technological solution by offering programs online.

It took just over a week to organize and now members can remotely access at least one program per day including its flagship programs: Healing Journey, Brain Fog and Mindful-Based Cancer Recovery, as well as meditation, yoga and new programs related to the COVID-19 health.

"I was very saddened when this coronavirus hit the world and everybody had to close their doors including Wellspring Calgary," said Natalia Vojtyk, who was diagnosed with cancer in February 2019.

Vojtyk is a retired teacher who lives alone. She’s much better today and credits her improved health to Wellspring activities.

"I’m the kind of person that needs to get out of the house to do some exercise practices," said Vojtyk.

"So being able to do it online and see the other participants, that’s going to be wonderful, I’m just delighted that they’re doing this."

'Just everything'

Laurel Green is a cancer survivor and a Wellspring peer support volunteer for young adults. She’s phoning members to check in and see how they’re doing and knows the impact cancelling programs has on them.

"Those Wellspring programs are what a member plans their entire day around, it’s their one outing, it’s the thing that they do to stay connected and they plan for it, they save their energy for it, they make sure they’re healthy enough to to come into the centres," said Green.

"So being able to participate remotely and being able to hear from peer support volunteers and connect with each other is just everything in this moment."

Wellspring Calgary has upwards of 6,000 members and 400 volunteers who are ready to pitch in where needed.

"They are offering peer support, they are assisting with technology, they are just in the wings waiting to be deployed in any way they can help, we’re very grateful," said Patti Morris, Wellspring CEO.

Wellspring volunteers are also helping out with tech support to make sure everyone can access programs remotely. All of the programs Wellsprings offers are free of charge. The charity doesn’t receive any government funding but relies on donations and fundraisers, and it’s had to cancel events because of the pandemic.

"We are thankful for all the support that we have received and we are grateful for all those who are able to offer support so we can continue to do what we do," said Morris.

Learn more about Wellspring Calgary programs and how to donate on their website.