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Hospice thanks community for amazing support

Nancy Parks, Hospice Prince Edward Executive Director, shared stories of the community's support at this year's annual general meeting.

Nancy Parks, Hospice Prince Edward Executive Director, shared stories of the community’s support at this year’s annual general meeting.

Interesting stories of how the community of Prince Edward County supports hospice – and the new residential hospice – were shared at the recent annual general meeting.

The tales involved the smallest of kindnesses – such as a local diner preparing a particular soup for a resident; and a volunteer who gathered maps when realizing there were none to help direct out-of-town visitors.

They all involved people who wanted to show they cared – including the late Len Newman who even though he was ill, gathered signatures of support from his Wellington on the Lake neighbourhood after hearing disappointing news from the LHIN about funding.

Parks believes efforts like his were part of the reason the LHIN reversed its decision and instead, continued the conversations about the County’s project.

Hospice supported more than 140 families in the County with volunteers providing more than 3,000 hours of service with an additional 2,000 hours for fundraising and committee work. There are more than 60 volunteers who assist in the community and at the Downes Avenue, Picton facility.

Tristan Treasure receives the Spirit of Hospice Award from Geri Della Bosca and Joyce Willard.

Tristan Treasure receives the Spirit of Hospice Award from Geri Della Bosca and Joyce Willard.

“Our community has and continues to be amazing,” said Nancy Parks, executive director. “…Thank you. Although a simple thank you doesn’t seem to be enough. For everyone who walked our walk, drank coffee, stuffed envelopes it has all contributed to the success of our projects.”

The thank you that sums up the ideals and goals of hospice and all its volunteers and staff came from Norma Higgs, whose dad died at Hospice.

Higgs thanked Hospice “for making our family’s time today so peaceful, comfortable and welcoming. Even though my Dad, Norman Taylor, didn’t spend a lot of time there, it was precious time to our family. Your thoughtfulness and compassion during our time of need made what was a very hard day one that was not only bearable but very relaxing and unrushed.

“The ability to spend as much time with Dad both before and after he passed … and even after the funeral home took him on his final drive through the County, was so appreciated. Being able to talk as a family after he passed and gather our thoughts while we enjoyed a cup of coffee in the living room remembering his life was just what we needed.

I know my Dad was the first person to be welcomed through your doors and into you care. I hope the families that follow us through this wonderful facility will find the calm, peaceful and respectful place for their loved ones too. Thank you for making our final time with Dad so special.”

The residential hospice experience, Parks noted, was exactly what had been envisioned.

“It is our hope for the same for all of the families in this community who may need this service. We will continue to strive to deliver the best end of life and compassionate care for our community, said Parks. “Our story is not complete. There is still work to be done to realize our Lighting the Way community campaign goal, where we still need to raise much needed funds. We will continue to work toward that goal and believe that with the support of our community it is an attainable goal.”

Hospice Prince Edward's Nancy Parks and Audrey Whitney presented May Jackson with the June Callwood Award.

Hospice Prince Edward’s Nancy Parks and Audrey Whitney presented May Jackson with the June Callwood Award.

Volunteer May Jackson was inducted into the June Callwood Circle of Outstanding Volunteers.
The late June Callwood was a journalist, author and social activist. She founded or co-founded more than 50 Canadian social action organizations including youth and women’s hostels.
Nominated by the hospices they serve, the volunteers exemplify the spirit and dedication of hospice palliative care, and are the driving force of the care provided each day throughout the province.
Over the past four years, May Jackson has given hundreds of hours of time to help hospice clients remain at home – taking them to medical appointments, providing support during cancer treatments and being an encouraging friend.
She became an integral part of a Huntington’s client and his family despite her own personal loss of her mother. She is also always among those who deliver posters, blow up balloons and work with other volunteers. She was honoured at the award ceremony presentation at the Hospice provincial conference in April.

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