A desire to give back to the community is what led Lori Sellars to return to Williams Lake after having been away for 15 years.
Sellars is in her seventh year serving as executive director for the Three Corners Health Society that strives to holistically address the healthcare needs of Secwepemc community members by incorporating traditional and contemporary practices.
She recalled growing up at Xat’sull (Soda Creek) where she would enjoy a slew of outdoor activities such as berry picking, swimming, hiking, biking, camping, and even skiing at the former ski hill where the Nenqayni Wellness Centre currently resides with her four brothers and three sisters.
“Our mom kept us quite busy that way,” Sellars said.
“We did spend every summer dipnetting for salmon and preparing salmon either drying it or jarring it,” she added.
Despite Xat’sull being not that far from Williams Lake, the family did not travel often to the nearby city due to limited public transportation at the time.
Sellars’ mother Doreen (Chelsea) Sellars was chief of their community for about 10 years and her father worked in the forestry industry for many years.
“They were very passionate and had a strong work ethic, and I think that I learned that at a very young age to have a strong work ethic,” Sellars said.
With an unyielding desire to become a nurse, Sellars entered the registered nursing program at Cariboo College and completed it in 1993 at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.
She would later move to Vancouver Island to complete her masters of nursing in Nanaimo after which she would reside in Vancouver where she worked for several years with Health Canada and later the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) helping develop program policy and planning.
After spending six years with the FNHA, Sellars made the decision to return to the Williams Lake area where she enjoyed her childhood time with her grandmother and immediate family.
“I wanted to give back to the communities and I wanted that opportunity to share my strengths in terms of what I’ve learned throughout the years in healthcare with families and communities,” she added.
Pleased of the programs and services available at the Three Corners Health Society, Sellars said she is proud of their team which now includes nurse practitioners Colleen Patenaude and Catherine Birtwistle. The Society also works closely with physicians Dr. Chris Kriek, Dr. Roland Engelbrecht and Dr. Geoff Harris as well naturopathic physician Dr. Jeanne Paul.
“What I think has been most important as part of myself coming back is we started developing our melamen (traditional medicine) program and that’s a key part of I think that needs to continue to develop and be a priority,” she said.
Sellars currently resides in Borland Valley near 150 Mile House with her spouse and three of their five youngest children 16-year old Jacob, 14-year old Joshua and 11-year old Eva.
Although her children are not able to partake in the same childhood activities of dipnetting and hunting moose, Sellars said she encourages them to live an active lifestyle and be involved in sports.
“I always like to try and keep the children outdoors as much as we can and we’re doing that right now during COVID-19,” she said.