HopeSpring helping cancer patients through COVID-19 pandemic

HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre has been able to support patients during the pandemic and a fire impacting wig supplies.

When COVID-19 was first identified in Waterloo Region more than a year ago, Shannon Berkhuizen was dealing with another disease.

"I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer at the beginning of the pandemic," she said.

Berkhuizen and her family turned to HopeSpring for support during her diagnosis.

"It has allowed us to reach out to the community and we have that connection that we wouldn't have had otherwise," she said.

The board of directors and staff realized they needed to provide extra effort was needed during the pandemic to support the cancer journeys of 1,500 clients.

"To ensure that all of our programs would continue on," President Shawn Hlowatzki said.

They were able to deliver items like wigs, camisoles, pamphlets and information resources and moved support groups online.

"To ensure that we can minimize that chaos that COVID has caused," Hlowatzki said.

There are around 75 volunteers working at the centre.

"We have created connectivity and in connectivity, we help our members fell stronger," peer support volunteer Michele Way said. "We truly do give hope."