Randy O’Dell House

Anna Guy

It was a tour and then a phone call she says she will always remember. When Patti Morris, Executive Director of Wellspring Canada, was in the midst of searching for funding for a new center for non-medical support for cancer patients and their families, she had the opportunity to provide a tour to someone who wanted to learn more about their plans. Not even an hour after the tour, a trusted friend of local entrepreneur Randy O’Dell rang her office.

“He was really interested in leaving a legacy in this community,” says Morris. “He really wanted to leave something as a gift back to the community, and said when he had learned about Wellspring related to the importance of support and community when someone is unwell.”

O’Dell’s transformational donation of $4 million launched a successful $12.9 million dollar campaign, which culminated in Wellspring Calgary’s 12,000 square-foot Randy O’Dell House in the southeast community of Seton. With its official opening in October, 2019, the House offers a comprehensive range of programs, resources, and support for those living with cancer and their caregivers and families, and will complement services provided by Wellspring’s northwest Calgary facility, Carma House.

“We were cofounded by three cancer survivors who had had a similar experience of receiving excellent medical care but realizing that they really needed after-care to help them to put their lives back together after a cancer diagnosis,” says Morris. “It struck them that they had to really look and pay for a lot of extra services and programs and they wished that all of that was available under one roof, for free, for anyone who needed it. It was with this in mind that they created Wellspring Calgary.”

“We like to be in home-like settings,” says Niki Fehr, Centre Manager. “So the Randy O’Dell House is designed to feel like a home and built to be incredibly warm and welcoming.”

Randy O’Dell House is awaiting LEED-certification, and is built to standards to promote the health and wellness of the people in the building and to grow a community. All of the building materials are free carcinogens, mercury, and lead, for an “extra layer” of peace-of-mind.

The building is filled with spaces that promote conversation, wellness, and restoration. There are exercise spaces, integrated spaces dedicated to programs, community building, a community kitchen, and a space where people can land and have conversations and meals. “It’s truly a bright and beautiful and, and warm and inviting space,” says Fehr.

Randy O’Dell House supports the needs of anyone living with any type of cancer, at any time and the people who care about them. “When someone gets a cancer diagnosis and want to find community support and indicate that to the health care system in Calgary, they actually get a referral to Wellspring,” says Program Director, Sheena Clifford.

“One of the important things to know about Wellspring is people can simply walk through the door and access support and programs when they need it when the timing is right for them,” says Clifford. “Our hope is to reach as many people as possible who need support.”

The entire Wellspring team looks forward for the opportunities Randy O’Dell House will offer to those who need it,” says Clifford, “There is such comfort in not being alone on this journey.”