The Calgary Stampede’s 6th Annual Western Legacy Awards will be announced at a lunchtime ceremony on Stampede Park on October 13th.  These awards recognize the contributions of members of our community based on the four core values of the Calgary Stampede; Integrity, Hospitality, Commitment to the Community and Pride of Place.

This year the Western Legacy Awards Committee was delighted by the number of exceptional nominations.  Leading up to the Awards I will be posting some of the stories of our finalists from this year’s roster of nominees.

Finalist: WellSpring Calgary [founders Rita Egizii, Barbara Cunnings-Versaeval, and John Stephure (posthumously)]

Category: Innovation

These three remarkable Calgarians, Rita Egizii, Barbara Cunnings-Versaeval and John Stephure, saw a gap in services and built a house and a community to fill it.  All three experienced cancer and realized the public health services were not enough to treat the whole person struggling with the disease.  They established Wellspring Calgary which provides complimentary health care options as well as support for those living with cancer and their family and caregivers.  The three initially faced strong opposition from medical establishment but today hospitals and physicians are now making referrals to Wellspring after having seen the improvements in patients; hospitals are now asking Wellspring to train their volunteers.

The holistic approach to healing offered by Wellspring includes counseling, exercise and movement courses including field trips, instruction and information courses to help people learn about, cope with cancer and live well, and also expressive programs including art and music totaling more than 10,000 hours of free programming annually.

To really understand the contributions of this organization and its founders one just has to walk through the door and they will be met by a warm embrace of caring and support.

If you know of someone in the community who is demonstrating integrity, hospitality, commitment to the community and pride of place, please nominate them for the 2011 Western Legacy Awards .