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Inside Story: Lisa’s Kitchen – A Loving Tribute to Lisa Shamai, a Wellspring program leader, member and supporter

Lisa Shamai, a highly talented chef, joined Wellspring in 2011, when Wellspring began offering enhanced Nourish programs that included cooking demonstrations. With her culinary talent and passion for helping people, Lisa led many Nourish Cooking Series at Wellspring centres across the GTA. The foods Lisa prepared were always appealing, delicious, and most importantly, healthy. Lisa’s motto was “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not eaten well!”  She was always coming up for new and exciting recipes to share.

Members of the Wellspring community who knew Lisa vividly remember her warm, caring and enthusiastic spirit and passion for healthy cooking. Lisa cared deeply about Wellspring’s members and supported its mission through her philanthropic support as a monthly donor and through fundraising initiatives.

In 2014, Lisa was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and she became a Wellspring member. ”The fact that she took programs at Wellspring showed her trust in us, our community and our programs, which was gratifying”, shared Holly Bradley, Executive Director, Wellspring Centre of Innovation. Even during the darkest moments of her treatments, Lisa never lost hope, one of which was to return to lead Nourish Cooking Series at Wellspring. In one of her blogs, she wrote: “Part of my future visualization is to be back at work at Wellspring, demonstrating my best recipes and techniques for healthy cooking”.  Tragically, Lisa died of the complications in 2015.

Lisa’s passing left a big void in not only her close knit family but also within the Wellspring community. Last year, Lisa’s family approached Wellspring in search of a meaningful way to remember Lisa.  Her Aunt Dorothy lovingly made a generous donation to Wellspring in Lisa’s memory and in recognition of her generous gift, the kitchen at Wellspring Chinguacousy has been named “Lisa’s Kitchen”.

Wellspring is grateful to Dorothy Shoichet and Lisa’s family for this truly generous and thoughtful gift. “Lisa’s Kitchen” will provide a warm remembrance for Wellspring members who had the opportunity to benefit from the Nourish Cooking Series sessions led by Lisa with passion, warmth and spoonfuls of love.

On April 29, a group of Lisa’s family, close friends and Wellspring volunteers and staff gathered at Wellspring Chinguacousy, for the unveiling of Lisa’s Kitchen.
Lisa Shamai

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