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Compassionate Connections: Winter 2021 Hospice Calgary Newsletter

Compassionate Connections: Winter 2021 Hospice Calgary Newsletter

Rosedale Hospice: An Inside Look

What does Rosedale Hospice look like inside its walls? Many want to know this before making the decision to go on the waiting list. Having some familiarity with what it looks like helps to ease the stress of transition into a hospice.

Available this March, patients and families will be able to tour Rosedale Hospice from the comfort and safety of their own home or hospital bed. Erin Forsyth, our Director of Clinical Care, shares, “For many individuals and families who are considering hospice, taking the time to come in for a tour adds burden when stress is high and time is precious. Through virtual tours, we can meet their needs of seeing what Rosedale looks like while allowing them to do so on their own time and from wherever they are.”

Our virtual tour video was created by Rosedale Hospice staff and the fantastic team of Freshwater Creative. Viewers are guided through the house with voiceover provided by our very own volunteer tour guide, Kanako Hiratsuka-Earle. The virtual tour will soon be available on our Hospice Calgary website at hospicecalgary.ca/rosedale. Not only can this video be viewed by people considering hospice care, but it can also be viewed by family members near and far who want to see where their loved one may spend their final days.

The Rosedale Hospice virtual tour is just one of the many ways our Hospice Calgary team works together to eliminate barriers and increase ease of access for our families. We are very proud to showcase our great facility in this way.

Celebrating our Volunteers

April 18-24th is National Volunteer Week. While we try to sing our volunteers’ praises every day, National Volunteer Week is a time where the spotlight is on volunteers throughout the country. 

Here are the stories of just a few of the amazing volunteers that make our work possible.

Volunteer Spotlight: Kayla Pearon & Nadia Kolesnikova

Youth Leaders, Kayla Pearon and Nadia Kolesnikova, choose to give their time to the Children’s Grief Centre Hangout and Village drop-in programs. Their desire to help grieving families is motivated by their own experiences with loss.

Kayla, now 23, came to the Children’s Grief Centre when she was 16 following the death of her father. “I was going through a really hard time, as well as my family…losing my father at just 16”, says Kayla. “The Children’s Grief Centre helped my family get through”.

Nadia echoes many of Kayla’s sentiments about the value of the Children’s Grief Centre services. When Nadia’s brother suddenly died in 2016, she shares that was, “in a really negative mindset and was just sort of spiraling”. 

Nadia speaks to the Children’s Grief Centre services saying, “I am just very grateful I found the Children’s Grief Centre. If I hadn’t, I don’t know where I would be today”. 

One of the critical aspects of our drop-in groups is that families have the opportunity to connect with others who truly understand the impact of grief. Kayla, Nadia, and all of our Youth Leaders bring that understanding to their volunteer work at Hospice Calgary. 

Kayla wants everyone walking through the Children’s Grief Centre doors to know that they are not alone; “It is ok to be nervous. It is important to remember that everyone walking into this building feels the exact same way. It is a safe, comforting, and warm place to be.” 

We are incredibly grateful to have volunteers like Kayla and Nadia on our team. The excitement they bring to their volunteer roles is undeniable, and it shines through their work. When asked about her volunteer role, Nadia lit up and exclaimed, “If I can make a kid laugh for a couple of hours of an evening than I’ve done my job and it makes me very happy.”

Hospice Calgary at Your Door

It’ll take more than a pandemic and gathering restrictions to stop us from connecting! If people can’t come to us, we’ll find ways to get to them. Some of our programs are reaching the front steps of our clients, donors, and event attendees.

Behind The Scenes at Hospice Calgary premiered this past November and gave attendees a chance to hear from clients and
volunteers about the impact of our services. This event also allowed us to deploy our fund development team throughout Calgary streets as they delivered packages of wine, tea, and desserts for the event.

The holidays are a challenging time for those who have lost a loved one. When our staff received the news that they would not be able to host our annual Preparing for the Holidays program in-person, they were initially quite upset. However, in no time, a new plan was devised to ensure participants could still be supported to have their own memorial experience at home. Thanks to a small but committed team of volunteers, we were able to deliver a do-it-yourself candle and ornament making kit for family members to memorialize their loved ones. 

Throughout the new year, Children’s Grief Centre families will be gathering virtually for The Village with several hand-delivered packages including supplies for a bird feeder craft and mandalas, as well as snacks for a streamed movie event in March.

Celebrating our Volunteers

April 18-24th is National Volunteer Week. While we try to sing our volunteers’ praises every day, National Volunteer Week is a time where the spotlight is on volunteers throughout the country. 

Here are the stories of just a few of the amazing volunteers that make our work possible.

Volunteer Spotlight: Kayla Pearon & Nadia Kolesnikova

Youth Leaders, Kayla Pearon and Nadia Kolesnikova, choose to give their time to the Children’s Grief Centre Hangout and Village drop-in programs. Their desire to help grieving families is motivated by their own experiences with loss.

Kayla, now 23, came to the Children’s Grief Centre when she was 16 following the death of her father. “I was going through a really hard time, as well as my family…losing my father at just 16”, says Kayla. “The Children’s Grief Centre helped my family get through”.

Nadia echoes many of Kayla’s sentiments about the value of the Children’s Grief Centre services. When Nadia’s brother suddenly died in 2016, she shares that was, “in a really negative mindset and was just sort of spiraling”. 

Nadia speaks to the Children’s Grief Centre services saying, “I am just very grateful I found the Children’s Grief Centre. If I hadn’t, I don’t know where I would be today”. 

One of the critical aspects of our drop-in groups is that families have the opportunity to connect with others who truly understand the impact of grief. Kayla, Nadia, and all of our Youth Leaders bring that understanding to their volunteer work at Hospice Calgary. 

Kayla wants everyone walking through the Children’s Grief Centre doors to know that they are not alone; “It is ok to be nervous. It is important to remember that everyone walking into this building feels the exact same way. It is a safe, comforting, and warm place to be.” 

We are incredibly grateful to have volunteers like Kayla and Nadia on our team. The excitement they bring to their volunteer roles is undeniable, and it shines through their work. When asked about her volunteer role, Nadia lit up and exclaimed, “If I can make a kid laugh for a couple of hours of an evening than I’ve done my job and it makes me very happy.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Vicky Smith

Vicky came to Hospice Calgary 19 years ago following the loss of her husband. She was searching for support for her 7 year old son and came across our Kid’s Club program.

Kid’s Club helped Vicky to communicate to her son about the death of his father and also to learn from others who were experiencing a similar type of grief. Vicky’s involvement in this program inspired her to become a volunteer and we couldn’t be happier that she
chose to join our team. 

Vicky has been involved with Hospice Calgary in a number of ways. She started as a reception volunteer at Rosedale Hospice and then moved into Telephone Bereavement Services, where she provided monthly phone calls to bereaved family members of Rosedale Hospice and the Living With Cancer Program. Vicky and her son have also participated in our annual Hike for Hospice event for ten years.

Vicky beams when you ask her about her volunteer experience. Recently she shared, “Every time I am a part of it I feel so welcomed.
You are in a safe environment. People are easy to talk to and you are supported.” 

Vicky has helped so much over the years and we consider ourselves lucky to be able to call her a part of the Hospice Calgary family. We wish her well as she hangs up her volunteer hat and continues her career as a school counsellor.

Live, Love, Learn and Leave a Legacy

In death we hope that we leave many legacies behind. We hope that we leave the legacy of many warm memories with our loved ones. We hope that our acts of kindness made an impact in the lives of the people we met along the way and we hope that our careers and personal passions leave a legacy in their respective fields.

There is another way to leave a tangible legacy with a community of people you care about. By leaving a legacy gift in your will for Hospice Calgary you can impact the lives of Calgarians coping with advanced illness and loss.

When Mary Knowlton passed away in 2020 she left Hospice Calgary an estate gift of $10,000. This gift has helped to support the costs of Hospice Calgary’s programs throughout the pandemic. This gift, and this legacy, has been invaluable to our organization
and it is one of many generous estate gifts we were given over the last year.

Randy O’Dell, owner of O’Dell Electric, passed away in 2017 and to him leaving a legacy was of fundamental importance. He wanted to support the Calgary community that had supported his own dreams and ambitions. Randy left a substantial amount of his estate to a collection of local charities.

His gift of $500,000 to the Children’s Grief Centre supports the mental health of over 2000 grieving children, teens, and parents annually. To memorialize this gift a sign sharing Randy’s own personal journey with grief hangs in the Randy O’Dell Kids Room – our
largest kid-friendly counselling space. 

A legacy gift, no matter the size, can make a significant difference in the lives of many. We thank all of our legacy donors for choosing Hospice Calgary. If you have any questions about legacy giving please contact our Director of Development, Melissa Watamanuk, at 403-263-4525.

2021 Hike for Hospice Calgary Goes Virtual

Over the past year, we’ve all been faced with the unique challenge of adapting to the ever changing circumstances of COVID-19. With many of us staying home and practicing social distancing, we’ve made the decision to host the 16th Annual Hike for Hospice Calgary virtually once again.

From May 1st - 10th, Hike for Hospice Calgary participants are encouraged to walk/run/bike/hike 5 km in their neighbourhood or on their preferred trail at any time convenient for them within the event’s ten days.

According to long-time hiker, Brendan McCann, “This shouldn’t feel like any other year. This year, next year, and in the next ten years, Rosedale Hospice will still be there. We need to find a way financially and otherwise to keep these services going. We have had a history in Calgary of supporting causes, organizations, and facilities that matter the most to us; Rosedale is one of these places.” Brendan’s sentiments about Rosedale Hospice are the same for each one of our core services; all of which serve a great community need.

It has been a very challenging year for anyone grieving an advanced illness or the loss of someone close to them. This 10-day event offers the opportunity to come together virtually to raise money and awareness for our Hospice Calgary community. With the support of our sponsors and participants, we hope to raise $100,000 for Calgary’s grieving families. 

Registration and fundraising kicks off on March 1st.

Register early to receive a 2021 Virtual Hike for Hospice Calgary t-shirt and early bird registration prices. Visit our website: hospicecalgary.ca/hike for more details.

Make the 2021 Virtual Hike for Hospice work for you!

  • Put a little spring in your step! Go for your hike at your local park or venture out to the mountains (while practicing safe social distancing) and continue to make a difference in our community. Make it a family activity with the kids and your pets, or head out solo. The choice is up to you. Or, set a goal and walk on your treadmill at home. Or multiply - how many 5 km’s can you do in 10 days?
  • Do it on your time. Go for your hike whenever you like. All we ask is your hike be completed before or on May 10th, 2021. 
  • Go virtual. Through the power of CanadaHelps.ca, we’ve made it possible for you and your team to make donations virtually. Ask your friends and family to pledge and support you as you Hike for Hospice Calgary.
  • Stay connected. We encourage all participants to share their experiences with us on social media (#Hike4HospiceYYC)  or email us videos and photos (hike@hospicecalgary.ca).
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