Karla Stephens Tolstoy: Finding help and giving back

March 21, 2022

Karla Stephens Tolstoy is one of many people who have found support at Wellspring during the pandemic. She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in October 2018.

“I was really struggling. I had a lot of pain from the cancer in my bones, and I was dealing with anxiety and depression, and feeling broken,” says Karla. “[After my very first session] I felt the heaviness leaving me. Over time, I learned to talk to my body in a different way, and that helped with my pain. Everything started to improve.”

Karla began with the Chronic Cancer Support Group at Wellspring last year and said she found herself pushing through to make it to the next session. Eventually she supplemented with other programs, including The Healing Journey, which has helped her deal with the painful trauma of cancer, as well as her childhood sexual assault.

“I feel my life changing,” Karla explains, in reference to the anxiety and depression brought on by her advanced cancer diagnosis: “I feel normal, with some cushioning under me. A friend told me that my eyes seem brighter now.”

Karla is now a Wellspring donor herself, understanding the importance of helping others undergoing similar experiences.

She was also inspired to create the “healing” scarf, sold through her online social enterprise company, Stand Up Speak Up, with proceeds going to the Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation. “The scarf is intended to remind women of their worth, as well as connect them together with the idea that we are stronger when we band together.”

The healing scarf is available for purchase at: https://www.standupspeakup.ca/product-category/scarfs/

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