Few of us can recall a time when people’s voices have been more important than they are today. As we have been forced to isolate, many people have come to depend on virtual relationships to stabilize and inspire them; a calm and reassuring voice on the phone can very often make the difference between an emotional crisis and a balanced, healthy outlook. Nowhere is that more true than in Wellspring’s Peer Support Program, and no one exemplifies it better than Elaine Merrick.
Elaine’s personal cancer journey has certainly informed her philosophy, but it never plays a prominent role in the support she provides for cancer patients.
“These conversations are never about me – unless I’m specifically asked about a certain aspect of my experience. I can’t presume to know what people are dealing with, and I can’t help, if I don’t listen. It’s also great to know that, although our Peer Support training is excellent, there are counselling professionals in the wings, if they’re needed.”
Her faith takes a back seat in these conversations as well.
“When I was diagnosed, I would have been paralyzed if it hadn’t been for my faith, but everyone is different. When you hear that you have cancer, most people look for something in their life that is stronger than their fear. For some of the people I have talked with, it has turned out to be an amazing Wellspring program, where they have met others in similar circumstances, and found an effective way to ground themselves…physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
Elaine looks forward to seeing people in person as soon as possible, but she says that these virtual relationships will also continue, even after Covid numbers are manageable.
“There is definitely a huge role for distance communication moving forward. We have been able to use this challenging circumstance as a way to provide a stronger, broader peer support outreach into Northern Alberta. We’ll be able to provide a message of comfort and hope to many more cancer patients and their families.”
If you, or someone you love, are living through a cancer experience, and in need of support, please contact: email@example.com or call 780-758-4433. A kind and helpful person like Elaine will get back to you within 24 hours.