Josephine Lee, first on the right in the front row, along with other Brides’ Project
volunteers and the organization’s founder Helen Sandys-Wunsch, in the centre of the
Josephine Lee does not consider herself a ‘wedding person.’ “I’m not one of those women who dreams of weddings,” she admits.
Nevertheless, for the last six years, Josephine has devoted her time and energy to volunteering with the Brides’ Project. The concept is simple – gorgeous wedding dresses are donated by brides and bridal boutiques. They are available for purchase at a significantly discounted price and are purchased by brides-to-be. 100% of the profits are donated to organizations that provide funds for cancer research in addition to cancer support within the Greater Toronto Area. Since 2010, the Brides’ Project has been a proud supporter of Wellspring. Thanks to their generous donation of over $85,000 Wellspring has been able to impact the lives of people living with cancer and their loved ones.
“I think it’s such a great cause,” says Josephine, who has had to learn to become a wedding dress expert in order to help women find the perfect gown. Between raising money for cancer-related causes and seeing the excitement of her clients, Josephine can’t help but get into the spirit of things. “Getting to take part in someone’s wedding-day experience is an emotional reward, she says. “We get to be part of the memory and experience some of the excitement when they find the right dress. It’s very genuine, very fun experience.”
Josephine credits the time and effort spent volunteering for both the Brides’ Project and Wellspring to a deep desire to help those affected by cancer. “Having gone through cancer myself, it definitely adds more meaning,” she says.
Diagnosed in 2011, Josephine discovered Wellspring through Princess Margaret Hospital. Not long after, she began volunteering her time as a front desk volunteer at the former Wellspring Coach House location, before becoming a Wellspring ambassador, informing others about the services and support offered. “I think having a place to go to where you feel comfortable and know that you can just trust the people around you is a huge support for you and your family,” she says. “The disease can strike you at any time and it is so overwhelming. It means a lot to have that support network of people who know what you’re going through and have the ability to help.”
Josephine says that the partnership between the Brides’ Project and Wellspring is a perfect fit. “One of the key areas that the board at the Brides’ Project considers when they choose to fund their organizations is patient support,” she says. “For us it just makes sense to support both research and patient support, because you really can’t have one without the other.”
The money raised by the Brides’ Project has helped fund the Wellness Lounge at Wellspring’s downtown Toronto location, one of the first places people turn to when they arrive at Wellspring. It is home to hundreds of resources including books, CD’s, informational pamphlets and other services available for individuals to use while moving through their cancer journey.
“Wellspring’s whole purpose is to provide support for cancer patients and their families,” says Josephine. “It’s all about having a holistic treatment plan that includes both patients and caregivers.”
Wellspring is beyond grateful for the impactful partnership with the Brides’ Project – it is because of organizations like the Brides’ Project and passionate volunteers like Josephine that Wellspring is able to deliver the highest quality support for people living with cancer.