Maria Can’t Imagine Life Without Wellspring
By Joyce George-Knight
When Maria Whipps visited Wellspring Chinguacousy for the first time, her connection was immediate. “To my surprise I was in a beautiful home where I found the atmosphere so inviting”.
Diagnosed three and a half years ago with Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer where the white cells attack the bone tissue, she attributes Revlimid, administered with steroids as being responsible for giving her energy and removing pain. Maria has faced the fact that her cancer is treatable but not curable. She’s on palliative care to maintain her quality of life. One might say that her motto is, “Accept the cancer and then you can go on.” Instead of being angry with her diagnosis, this feisty yet delicate woman believes that “Cancer was an enormous lesson for me. We complain about the past and worry about the future when what we should be doing is focusing on the present moment. Cancer changes you, hopefully for the better.”
While she has attended many programs at Wellspring Chinguacousy it’s the human contact and the positive energy she feels there that has helped her the most. “Wellspring gives you the tools to let go of stress and resentment in order to cope with day-to-day living. But, it’s the positive energy and the common element of cancer that have helped me the most. There’s energy in there that makes me feel very relaxed and welcome.” Maria also takes advantage of Wellspring’s free transportation services to attend programs.
“Relaxation and Visualization is one of my favorite programs because there’s a lot of dialogue and a lively exchange and sharing. We do a meditation and then the leader invites members to share with the group. There’s always a core group, and a few new members each week, so it varies a little bit.”
Maria also enjoys the Knitting Program, held every Friday. “Knitting has a certain rhythm that is very relaxing. It’s an open forum so we can talk about the silliest things. If you don’t want to talk, you don’t have to.” Before the group begins or at breaks, many participants sit around the kitchen table enjoying coffee and tea together. Some bring their lunch, while others bring cookies or Indian food to share.
Maria is also a regular monthly donor. “We are given so much at Wellspring that we should give a little bit back.” After a bit of thought, she adds, “I wish I could give more. If you spend say ten hours at a place week after week after week, like I do, you should give something”. However, Maria’s main reason for being a donor is that “Wellspring is in my heart, it’s really part of me. I couldn’t imagine life without Wellspring”.