Wellspring offers hope to cancer patients

Wednesday, Oct. 10, marked the official launch Niagara’s new cancer facility, Wellspring Niagara. The clinic springs from the dream of two men who lost their lives to cancer. Despite the loss of Aldo Mantini, whose sister now sits as chair of the Wellspring Niagara and Brock professor Dr. Udayan Rege, the dream of a Niagara based “non-medical” cancer treatment centre has been realized.

The centre serves the Niagara Region’s cancer patients and caregivers, says operations manager Lorraine Bauer. As well as “to offer educational and spiritual support” and that it marks an important step for the Niagara’s cancer treatment network. “

“[Wellspring Niagara] is an integral part in the support of those in need,” said Port Colbourne Mayor Vance Badaway.

The new clinic is revolutionary in the Niagara region, blending the concepts of spiritual healing with those of a more conventional nature, such as one-on-one support and support groups. The centre has several alternative methods of cancer treatment, including, healing/thereputic touch, reiki, body-mind meditation and yoga. It also provides a home-like setting in which various support groups meet on an “as needed basis.”

In addition to providing alternative therapies, Wellspring also tries to provide an alternative to the hospital environment that becomes all too familiar to those with cancer.

“The last thing cancer patients want to do is walk into a hospital setting … smell that hospital smell, see that same colour of green,” says Bauer.

Kanchan Rege, Udayan Rege’s wife, explains how important she believes it is to make people feel welcomed. The decor certainly lends itself to this belief, the cheerful staff complete the picture wonderfully. Rege also stresses the fact that there is no need for referral in order to use Wellspring Niagara’s free services, and that walk-ins are welcome.

“Anyone can come here, teenagers, adults, children, who are affected by cancer,” says Rege.

While the Thorold-based centre is receiving accolades from Niagara region officials, it is still plagued by a lack of funding from the federal and provincial levels. So far, that deficit has been made up by private donors.

“There’s just no government funding available,” says Wellspring Niagara chair, Ann Mantini. “People have been so generous … everything that you see, the furnishings, artwork have been donated by local business … we’ve been so fortunate.”

The entire $125,000 start-up cost for the clinic was funded through donation. The operating costs, which are expected to be approximately $175,000 per year, as well as per-service fees paid to the professionals Wellspring Niagara contracts to run their programmes, will also be funded entirely through donation and fund-raising.

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