Compassionate Connections: Summer 2021 Hospice Calgary Newsletter
Bitmoji: An Unlikely Counselling Tool for Young Clients
When the Children’s Grief Centre closed last year due to pandemic restrictions, our counselling team was busy working at home to provide children and teens therapy and support through technology. Hospice Calgary and the Children’s Grief Centre have always leveraged technology to help connect families to the support they need, and this year was no exception.
Some families are now very familiar with virtual appointments, but for others, these type of appointments are quite new. To make this a smooth and successful option for families, counsellors decided to utilize an unlikely tool – Bitmoji. Bitmoji is an online app that creates avatars, miniature cartoon versions of yourself for use on social media. Counsellors use Bitmoji to connect in a fun and creative way, and help their clients navigate virtual counselling. All our grief counsellors have created Bitmoji’s.
When first reaching out to a client, counsellors share their Bitmoji along with an infographic of what clients can expect during a virtual session (e.g. confidentiality, wearing headphones, and tips on finding a quiet place to talk).
Our counsellors have also used their Bitmoji to create a guide on what to expect during in-person counselling sessions. Serena Shokar, one of our Children’s Grief counsellors, says that Bitmoji “make it more personable, and give the kids and teens a sense of familiarity. Bitmoji help us support our clients differently than we have in the past.”
Since implementing the use of Bitmoji’s, our counsellors have received a lot of positive feedback from parents and caregivers. One parent of a 10-year-old girl shared, “This will make my daughter feel more comfortable connecting with counselling online.”
Volunteering in Full Bloom
Have you seen the beautiful tulips that herald spring each year at Rosedale Hospice? Spring has sprung when the tulips arrive.
Dawn and Susan Sharpe have been volunteer gardeners with us for 20 years. Each year, the Sharpe’s order hundreds of tulip bulbs, then over winter and plant them, waiting until the flowers are ready for replanting. They then load up their truck from their SW Calgary acreage with tulips, and lovingly deliver them to Rosedale Hospice where the flowers are planted in window boxes and pots.
The tulips always brighten the day of patients, families, visitors, and staff. You can say that without the Sharpe’s generous green thumbs, our days, and our window boxes, would be a little less colourful.
We are happy to share that for their contribution to Rosedale Hospice, Dawn & Susan Sharpe were celebrated with a Noble Neighbour citation - a new award by Top 7 Over 70, that recognizes the contributions of seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Congratulations!
Stephanie: A Caregiver Story
Each year, Canada Cares by the Canadian Abilities Foundation, celebrates the selfless and often heroic efforts of Canadian caregivers with their One Wish and Caregiver Recognition Awards. Last year, Director of Community Hospice Services, Elaine Munce, nominated Stephanie Koke, a caregiver from our Living with Cancer Program. We’re proud to share her story below:
In November 2020, Stephanie was recognized as one of the eight recipients of the One Wish Award. This award is well-deserved!
Stephanie Koke’s husband Jeff was diagnosed with metastatic, Stage IV colorectal cancer in 2014. Due to his rapidly failing health, Jeff had to leave his job in the technology industry and the family subsequently moved from Calgary to a rural farm closer to Stephanie’s family. Stephanie has taken on responsibility for the upkeep of the farm while caring for her husband and their two young daughters.
Stephanie has rallied the family through Jeff’s numerous surgeries, ongoing financial hardships, physical demands, and emotional suffering. She recently started restoring furniture and selling their farm eggs to help with expenses.
When she has time to attend our Living with Cancer Program (now on Zoom) with her husband, she is soft spoken, loving, tired and at times, emotional. Stephanie’s compassion, perseverance, and courage while she struggles to make sure Jeff has the best possible quality of life, are truly inspiring and heartwarming.
THANK YOU for supporting our clients with the 2021 Virtual Hike for Hospice Calgary
Many clients got creative about how and where they hiked. One Hospice Calgary client who had to delay his wife’s Celebration of Life due to gathering restrictions, so he decided to honour her by hiking up Prairie Mountain on May 1st.
On behalf of the clients we serve, we want to THANK YOU for participating in the 16th Annual Hike for Hospice Calgary. Because of the generosity of more than 300 hikers, sponsors and supporters like you, we’ve raised $110,000 to date.