Scott Thompson Joins Other Cancer Survivors At Wellspring Runway Event

By Karen Bliss 2/27/14 |

A dapper and cancer free Scott Thompson struts down the runway at Holt Renfrew's Well Dressed For Spring, benefitting Wellspring. The actor-comedian was diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkins gastric lymphoma in 2009.
Hannibal/Kids In The Hall actor-comedian Scott Thompson and other cancer survivors walked the runway at Holt Renfrew’s flagship location in Toronto on Feb. 24 to help raise money for Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation. The third annual Well Dressed For Spring fashion show and shopping event brought in close to $244,000 to help the valued organization operate its 40 free programs and services.

“The medical community treats the disease; we treat the individual,” Wellspring CEO Christina Smith tells Samaritanmag. “We have 40 programs that are based in practical, emotional, physical and rehabilitative support. We cover nutrition. We have a research-based exercise program. We have a metastatic group for people with advanced cancer. We have a program called the healing journey.”

The event, hosted in collaboration with Holt Renfrew and Women in Capital Markets, featured 375 guests who each paid $200 to attend. Title sponsors were BMO Financial Group, RBC, and Scotiabank, all of which had executives affected by cancer strut their stuff on the makeshift catwalk wearing new spring fashions available at Holt’s.

In addition to Thompson were Howard Green, anchor and host, BNN; Jean-Marc Andary, director, corporate equity derivative sales, RBC Capital Markets; Colleen Campbell, vice chair, BMO Capital Markets; Angeline O, senior manager, marketing planning, TD Bank Group; Anatol von Hahn, group head, Canadian banking, Scotiabank; Angie Morris, legal counsel Hershey Canada and Elle Canada model search recipient; Stephanie Gilman, blogger; Leora Eisen, documentary director and twin sister of the late Linda Lewis, and her niece, Linda’s daughter, student Nikki Lewis.

The evening’s additional sponsors were Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, EY, Aird & Berlis LLP, American Express, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, Elle Canada, Holt Renfrew and TD Bank Group.

Smith says that Wellspring needs nearly $5 million each year to operate its free programs and services in Toronto. They receive no government funding; all funds come from corporate sponsors and individual donors.

While Wellspring is a nationally affiliated organization with three centres in the Greater Toronto Area; one in Brampton, Ont.; one in Calgary and another slated to open in Edmonton, each of the locations outside Toronto are separate entities, Smith says, and raise their own money. “We have a legal contractual arrangement that they follow our programs and services, policies, and brand,” she adds.

“What’s really important about Wellspring that’s unique is that our programs are gold standard and they’re tried, true, and tested. And so anyone that wants to become a Wellspring affiliate, we need to have the assurance that they’re going to buy into our philosophy and our approach and there’s no wavering on that.”

When someone arrives at Wellspring (no referral is needed), they are met by a peer support volunteer who has had personal experience with cancer.  They’ll have a meeting during which they’ll learn of the programs available and be invited to participate. “The important thing for us is that the programs are led by accredited professionals,” says Smith.

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