“I was hooked from the first day I walked through the doors of Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan House,” says Bev Cathro. “Both John and I have been part of the Wellspring community for the past 12 years now, and it’s become so much a part of both of our lives.”
Bev first accessed Wellspring after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “The centre is around the corner from our house. I drove by and saw the beautiful home and thought it would be a place that I would enjoy. When I went for my first visit I was amazed by the warmth of the house.” After going through her own cancer journey, Bev then became a volunteer. “I felt it was a place where I could be an asset.”
Over the years, Bev has helped in a multitude of ways. Before the centre had a washer and dryer, she would do all the laundry herself, to save the centre from having to use a laundry service. Today, she participates on the committees for Light Up Wellspring and the Paeds and Parents events, she volunteers at all Paeds and Parents and Family Programming events, she helps out with any outreach events and she is a member of Food Task Force, where she hosts and cleans up dinner at the centre for all the Family Programming support groups.
“I’ll help with anything,” says Bev. “Volunteering means personal growth. It uses my strengths and compassion, and allows me to care for and help those in need. ” Bev is a true advocate for Wellspring, always helping to share Wellspring with the community. “There is such a great need to have a place of understanding and compassion for people going through cancer. If anyone feels they have lost their wings to fly, at Wellspring there is always a hand to hold. ”
When Bev became part of the Wellspring community, so did her husband John. “Bev is very generous with my time,” laughs John.
John is someone the centre can always count on. A lot of John’s volunteering is behind the scenes. He is the volunteer handyman, helping to ensure the centre is always running smoothly. He helps with the maintenance of the house and fixes any issues that come up. For example, after the centre expansion John dedicated his time every day for three months to help get the centre back to its normal operations. On top of his handyman work, John lends a hand wherever he can, from managing the parking lot during events, to being onsite for fire alarm testing, to opening and closing the centre when needed. There isn’t a task too small or big for John and the centre staff can always call him when they are in a pinch. “I help out and bail out,” says John. “It’s all about giving back. If you can’t help someone else, then there is something wrong.”
John and Bev have great admiration for the centre staff at Wellspring. Both John and Bev feel appreciated for the work that they do that continues to keep them part of the Wellspring community. “The staff recognize volunteers and appreciate them,” says Bev. “It makes us both feel like we are part of something important.”