Wellspring was founded in Toronto in 1992 by Anne Armstrong Gibson, who had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1988. Along with all her other fears about treatment, survival and the future of her husband and two young children, Anne experienced something more, an overwhelming sense of isolation. She quickly realized that this was an all-too-common experience among cancer patients, and became determined to fill the void.
With the help and encouragement of some of the leading experts in the field of oncology, Anne worked with family, friends and supporters to establish Wellspring, a non-profit organization offering psychological, emotional, social, spiritual and informational support to individuals and families living with cancer. Anne’s vision for Wellspring was to create a Canada-wide network of community-based centres that would provide people with the tools they required to cope with cancer.
In 1992, Wellspring opened its first centre, The Coach House, on Wellesley Street East in Toronto. In 1999, Wellspring launched its second centre, in north Toronto, on the campus of Sunnybrook & Women’s College Health Sciences Centre. Although Anne died in 1995, her vision still guides the organization’s growing network, a network that now serves individuals and families living with cancer across Canada.
In keeping with Anne’s vision, Wellspring continues to provide an innovative and creative approach to the overall care of the whole person, with the aim of improving quality of life. It is a cooperative, community effort, based on the needs of patients and their loved ones, and the approach is designed to complement any medical treatments patients may be undergoing.
1988 – Anne Armstrong Gibson is diagnosed with Cancer
- Idea of Wellspring is born
- Advisory Committee is established
1991 – Wellspring is registered as a non-profit organization
1992 – The Coach House opens inToronto
1995 – Anne Armstrong Gibson dies
1999 – Wellspring Sunnybrook (Westerkirk House) opens
2000 – Wellspring Halton-Peel (Birmingham Gilgan House) opens
2000 – Wellspring London opens
2001 – Wellspring Niagara opens
2002 – Wellspring Centre of Innovation is founded
2007 – Wellspring Calgary opens
2008 – Wellspring Chinguacousy opens
2017 – Wellspring Edmonton opens
2019 – Wellspring starts to offer online programs, available across Canada