“I believe in the power of people helping people and making a difference in another’s life,” says Annie Kohut. After moving to Oakville, Annie was in search of a volunteer position similar to the one she had when she lived in Windsor and volunteered at the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre. Annie drove by Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan House, and curiosity brought her through the doors. “I applied with the attitude that I am giving you my time and my heart and you can put me anywhere,” says Annie. “It was the perfect fit and I have been volunteering here ever since.” Annie began as a front desk volunteer in 2005 and since then has also volunteered with peer support, outreach, fundraising events and as a member of the Paeds and Parents committee.
Annie, has experienced cancer in her own family and friendships. “I lost my father to cancer,” says Annie. “I miss him every day and when I am at Wellspring I feel he is watching over me.”
“Wellspring is a special place. We understand that everyone has a unique story and when they are feeling lost they can come to Wellspring and receive compassion and encouragement. It warms my heart when I hear people say that they are happy they came to Wellspring that day. I feel that I have helped make a difference.”
One volunteer position that is near and dear to Annie is being part of the Paeds and Parents Committee. Throughout the year, the committee plans and executes social events for children living with cancer and their families as well as children with parents living with cancer. With a love for children and event planning it was the perfect role for Annie. She joined the committee in 2014 and says they are one big family. “The committee goes all out to plan the best events for our families,” says Annie. “Giving our families a chance to have fun and laugh during this difficult time is so important. The children are so special and brave and we do anything we can to put a smile on their faces.”
Annie is proud to volunteer and it is evident that it is one of her core values. “Volunteering helps me in my life,” says Annie. “It helps me continue to grow as a person and appreciate things in life.” Annie describes her fellow volunteers as amazing. “You really feel the love as soon as you walk through the doors of Wellspring,” says Annie. “We are so fortunate to have a Wellspring in our community. The staff and program leaders are wonderful, hardworking and dedicated. It is amazing that people have a place like Wellspring to go to, and that we can provide of the types of support and programs that help them.”