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weSPARK Cancer Support Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Counseling, Human Services, Mental Health

Mission: weSPARK Cancer Support Center enhances the quality of life for cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones. weSPARK provides free programs and services, which alleviate the physical and emotional side effects of a cancer diagnosis.

Target demographics: cancer patients and their loved ones

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,000 cancer patients and their loved ones.

Geographic areas served: Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley

Programs: Since COVID 19, WeSPARK is now providing free virtual programs and services like support groups, yoga, game nights and a host of other therapeutic and holistic programs. These programs are designed to alleviate fear, anxiety, depression, isolation, and evoke feelings of relaxation and well-being.

Community Stories

527 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known of the weSpark Center for several years, but only in the past year have I personally become affiliated with them. After having a close family member diagnosed with cancer, I can not believe how crucial cancer support centers, like weSpark, are to the patient's treatment and healing process. First what sets weSpark's apart is that is does not feel like a "cancer center" but more like a mental wellness and spa retreat where patients can enjoy yoga, or nutrition classes -- or find the support or therapy sessions they need in what is often an extrememly tense, stressful and painful experience. It's amazing places -- and people like the weSpark -- exist and continue to strive to bring the best techniques, methods and facilities to their patients.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

7/26/2009 To whom it may concern: After being discharged from the hospital in late August 2008 I was very luck to be introduced to the weSpark Cancer Support Center in Sherman Oaks CA. In the middle of August 2008 I was informed by my doctors that I had Phase IV non small cell lung cancer that had metastasized into bone cancer. I was devastated by the news because there were no previous signs of the disease. I was told by my Oncologist that if I was lucky I could live 5 years and that was the fact of the matter. He emphasized that I would have difficult choices to make in the process and that I couldn’t be guaranteed anymore than a relatively decent quality of life depending on how I reacted to the prescribed treatments of chemo therapy and radiation treatments. While I was in the hospital I was tested from top to bottom and they had prescribed titanium rods be inserted into both my femurs to reinforce what was described to me as hips, pelvis, sacrum, spine and knees that had been eaten by the cancer so extensively that the cortex or hard outer surface of the bones was gone. I was told I was fortunate that my legs hadn’t just collapsed and that the simple action of jumping off of a street curb could have shattered my hips and pelvis. This would have spread the cancer throughout my body in the shattered pieces as well as rendering me a virtual cripple. I began chemo therapy and radiation treatments simultaneously. I underwent 24 radiation treatments in a row and was given chemo every 21 days for 6 sessions, every 28 days I was given a bone repair drug called Zometa. The side effects from all of this left me nauseous, weak and disoriented. I was constantly angry at my situation and felt I had been dealt a bad hand in life. If it was not for the help and support of my wife and her urging me to attend weSpark and get involved with a support group I would probably not have made the recovery I have made and am currently enjoying. weSpark put me in a group of like patients in various stages of recovery and treatments and I soon learned I was not alone. The group is structured and led by a qualified counselor who lets us in the group speak freely about our feelings, cares and concerns. I have been greatly relieved at being able to not only receive help and direction from the other people in the group but to also give help and direction to those around me. All in all it’s a situation I cannot afford to miss on a weekly basis and when my schedule does conflict, I do miss the interaction and positive results of attending. The weSpark Cancer Support Center also has afforded me the opportunity to be involved in many other activities all free of cost and or obligation such as, Guided Imagery, Tai Chi, Reiki Healing, Yoga on several different levels depending on your specific level of ability, Acupuncture, Guest Speakers, Crafts and Hobbies. I cannot say enough about the courteous staff of professionals and volunteers at the center who make your ability to attend these functions seamless and simple in an otherwise confusing world of Doctors appointments, treatments, and days following treatments with side effects. In order to be able to change an appointment or function to another day without complaint or fuss helps make the experience easy. There are no other groups available to me that can completely fill my needs like the staff and organization of weSpark. Thank you for letting me participate in this search for great non-profits, weSpark will always get my vote. Best Regards, Francois Wilkinson

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have gotten so much from this Cancer Center and want to thank everyone involved. I went to the WeSpark Center after I saw a flyer and started with a group. I had gone back to work part time after my 5th Cancer Surgery. I was laid-off and told it would be for 2 months. It turned out to be forever. I started to attend more free classes from Jewelry/Beads to Meditation. I have learned what a strong survivor I am and techniques to guide myself through my Cancer progression. I would have stayed at home sorry for myself if I had not taken the step towards my recovery and even getting my self esteem back. This organization really gives back to its community in a big way.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

weSpark is the best Cancer Support Center in Southern California. The programs support the entire human being and facilitate healing. Without weSpark, many people would not be doing as well as they are doing. From the moment a person walks in the front door, that person can feel the love, compassion and support. weSpark clients are given every tool necessary to fight this disease--and the clients are winning!

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I joined weSparks/Santa Clarita in Jan. 2009. I have been a breast cancer survivor sense 2004. I came across an article in the local newspaper with weSparks information and decided it was time I started taking care of myself, so I made the call. Tara and Lenora made me feel so welcome I decided to try the post treatment group. Ever sense that first meeting miracles have been happening in my life. I am also a polio survivor from the age of 3 years and was experiencing new weakness in my arms and legs. I had been trying for years to get a proper diagnosis when a women at the meeting gave me a name of a doctor that might be able to help me. After 6 MRI's, EEG's which lasted three hours and other nerve conduction tests I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome. I was able to go thru all those grueling test because of the training I received from weSparks. The Kundilini Yoga breathing, Guided Meditation, Relaxation techniques, Reikki treatments and the support of the wonderful friends that I have made at weSparks. All their help got me thru those test. I also was invited to a nutrition class where I have learned to cook wonderful healthful dishes for my family. Because of weSparks and their support I am able to accept all the challenges life gives me one day at a time. Thank you, weSparks I am grateful to be a survivor. Charmaine King

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm thrilled that I survived a 2005 diagnosis of bladder cancer at the age of 59. However, one of the side effects of cancer at my age was the loss of my employment as an attorney following 7 months of recovery and the ultimate dissolution of my entire department due to restructuring and the economy. I have been lucky enough to manage on savings, but the little pleasures in life became big indulgences on my more limited unexpected early retirement budget. So, when I heard about a free yoga class at an organization called WeSpark, I thought I'd try it out. I can't speak more highly of my experience. Walk into the unassuming strip mall storefront, and you enter a small, intimate lobby carefully crafted in soft comforting tones. A cheery greeter welcomes you, and top flight yoga instructors are there to share their knowledge. WeSpark offers all sorts of programs including jewelry making, reiki, painting, etc. in the company of others who have been through similar experiences and their care givers. In this atmosphere it is natural for the guests to talk and encourage each other based upon their own experience of healing. This is an amazing organization and has helped me become whole again. My husband, caregiver and real saint in my recovery story, even signed up for yoga. We both feel incredibly blessed that WeSpark is in our community. I am active in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. But, I have to say honestly that my heart belongs to WeSpark! Every community should have an organization like it.

7

Donor

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Wespark a month ago. The dedication to their mission is inspirational. I am confident in the staff, the volunteers and the donors. This charity is on its way to making a nation wide difference.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I,m a cancer Survivor, and WeSpark help me to see the light from the darkness of been hit by cancer, God Bless everyone in there. Thank God for this place, they are best of the best.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a Bile Duct Cancer survivor for 16 months. When I first entered the doors to weSpark Santa Clarita, I was so frightened and very apprehensive. My fears were soon eliminated with new hope, inspiration, courage, support and with a new family. I have gained so much from taking part in all that weSpark offers starting with In Treatment Support, Post Treatment Support, Yoga, Reiki, Guided Imagery, Meditation and Acupuncture. I know weSpark has been an integral part of my healing. With such a dedicated and devoted staff, Tara, Sharon, Leonora and all our wonderful members. WeSpark has been with me all the way on this journey!! Shari N

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wespark has been a Godsend for me. I have been battling cancer for almost three years now and felt very alone and isolated....I have a wonderful and supportive family and they simply don't understand what I have been going through. My husband remembered WendyJo and new about Wespark so he took me there two years ago and my life has improved so much...I have met so many other people in my same situation, attended support groups, hypnosis, imagery, yoga and many other classes to help my physical and spiritutal wellbeing. The staff and volunteers are loving and compassionate and will do whatever they can to help you. My husband has even attended group meetings for caregivers. The support is never ending and on so many levels. I cannot say enough about Wespark and their contribution to cancer patients. They deserve the best!!!

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

weSPARK is a cozy retreat for cancer patients and their families. The staff and facilitators are dedicated to the guests and do their best to help ease the journey with cancer. Their wonderful program is a godsend to those in need. It is like a second family for those people who need support. The support groups are loving and open. The movement classes are specifically designed with cancer families in mind and the spiritual and energy healing classes provide hope and dignity while welcoming peace into the hearts and minds of guests.

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My mother has battled cancer for a couple of years now, and has found loving support from the volunteers and others at WeSpark. I truly believe that WeSpark strides to help people who are battling cancer, the best quality of life possible, during such a horrible time in their lives. My mother always comes home in a happier mood and spirits lifted once she's been to her weekly meeting. I would encourage ANYONE effected by cancer, to seek out help from WeSpark. That is what they are there for.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization has helped so many and has filled a need that is so great. I think this is one of the best supportive groups around. I will help this group anyway that I can.

8

Donor

Rating: 5

Wendie Jo Sperber's legacy is weSPARK, a place where people with cancer, their families and friends can seek support in a variety of ways, all FREE of charge, in an environment that is warm, friendly, supportive and homey. This is a concept that should be franchised nationwide.

7

Donor

Rating: 5

I have worked and met with most all the staff at WeSpark and they truly hold my highest regards for their passion and dedication to their cause. I have seen numerous guest (patients) who come to WeSpark for some form of support and they have always been welcomed and nurtured with open arms and without descrimination to any particular circumstance. I have had the pleasure of working with this fine organization and look forward to on many accounts in the future. Without any reservation, I highly recommend anyone to be involved themselves with WeSpark on some level.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

weSPARK provides an invaluable service to anyone who has been touched by cancer and unfortunately those numbers keep rising. Being able to seek help in a non-insitutional settiing aids in the healing process and allows people to join a community that relates in a stress-free environment. I have been a part of weSPARK since Wendie Jo opened the doors both as a volunteer and employee. I would love to see her dream come true; to have a center in every community where the need exists.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I arrived at WeSPARK a few weeks after completing radiation treatments for breast cancer. I was blessed to have been a part of WeSPARK while Wendy Jo the founder, was still an everyday part of activities and inspiration. I was in an abyss of depression due to handling the death of my spouse and cancer treatment without him nor family members. It is all I could do to drag myself to WeSPARK, however I found groups of other men & women who were not as fortunate as myself, Wendy for one. The other warriors and facilitators picked me up and held me while I gathered my inner strength back. I joined their yoga, ti-chi and quigon (sorry about the spelling)and volunteered at their fund raisers as I began to come back into myself. It was been 6 since I "needed" them, however, I will never forget how they saved my sanity and helped bring me back among the the living. I am cancer free these 6 years and will always be available to WeSPARK when ever I am needed, so I can assist others as they assisted me.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Out of all the cancer support groups, this one is unique and special. The array of offerings is staggering. The committment to helping, not just the cancer patient, but their children as well, is what makes this group stand out. caring, lovely individuals, all sorts of classes and experiences and room for other family members. Absolutely fantastic.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Nearly 10 years ago I met Wendie Jo Sperber for a cup of tea. Within 15 minutes she fully described her vision for weSPARK. Within 12 months that vision was a reality. For 10 years that reality has served thousands of cancer patients as well as their friends and families. There can be no greater gift than to leave behind a legacy that serves.

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The lives of so many people and there families are helped by such a great organization. It is an honor to part of this.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Every day I see people overjoyed with the dynamics of weSPARK. Working in the front, I hear guests exclaim that this foundaiton has saved thier life. This is a comment I hear frequently. I feel delighted to be a part of weSPARK and to see the magic that occurs within everyone that comes through here.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked at weSPARK for over five years now, and I can honestly say that what we do here is really unique. Our support groups and classes help you cope with the emotional pain and devastation that come with a cancer diagnoses. Whether it’s through qi gong, yoga, support groups or reiki, we get you through some of your darkest moments. I have seen many wonderful people walk through these doors and it is very rare to not hear how grateful they are to have found us. I am honored to be a part of Wendie's dream.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

It may sound like I am biased as I am on the Board of Directors. I met Wendi Joe Sperber during the last few years of her life and may I say that to see and hear her love and dedication to this cause had me spell bound. I am extremely busy as a mom and an entrepeneur yet I was honored to be asked to join her Board of Directors.This is a group of selfless, dedicated people who have brought so much to so many. We do need more people to come and visit the center since only then do you really understand what it is like to have a place for cancer patients and their families to go for FREE. There is yoga, tai chi, meditaion visualization,,, and on and on..Thank you for taking the time to read this. If I sound passionate, it is because I am.Hope you join us in spreading the word. We have a Charity Golf Tournament coming up. If you play, join us, if you know someone who plays, have them join us, if not and you can, kindly make a cash donation or help us with the silent auction. Thanks in advance.

11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

weSPARK provides an understanding community in a cozy home atmosphere in many people's greatest time of need. They have a huge selection of supportive and creative programs and encourage everyone to try as many of them as they would like. The wonderful staff, volunteers, and other guests are always there to listen and support one another. I recommend weSPARK to every cancer patient and their family members that I meet.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can not explain to you how much weSPARK has meant to me over the years. I have had the unique experience of volunteering and working at weSPARK. The staff and volunteers there are so wonderful and the guests are so inspiring and incredible people who always seem to put a smile on my face. I love the energy at weSPARK! I love the warm and inviting atmospere that is only made increasingly better by the caring and knowledgeable staff. Would recommend stopping by to find out more information on their programs and activities.

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

weSPARK is a really great, all inclusive, well rounded, FREE support center for people with cancer , their families and children. It is an amazing grassroots, community based center that offers different modalities of support from emotional, to physical and spiritual. It is a friendly, casual and homey environment to get you out of a hospital feel and into the arms of others that understand. I encourage anyone with cancer or effected by cancer to check them out

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WeSPARK is a wonderful supportive environment offering a wide variety of counseling, alternative health, and therapy services, as well as different creative classes and guest lectures for the cancer patient/Survivor and their family/caretakers. They even offer support groups and classes for children. I have been affiliated with the organization for over five years and can honestly say this special place improves the quality of every one's life who comes in!