Wrapping Up 2020

An Update From Home Hospice North Lanark

Hike for Hospice 2020

Mary Maloney, at 100 years of age, was the most senior participant, and team Unicorn — the largest team registered — had a 4-year-old hiking with her grandma during the recent Hike for Hospice. Reverend Barry Carr, Pastor at the Community Presbyterian Church walked the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail beginning at Hwy 7 in Carleton Place and walking the 27 km to Pakenham along the trail, taking a series of “selfies” in each town and each time he crossed the Mississippi Rive. Board member Hannah Larkin asked her friends and family to sponsor her hike in lieu of a thirtieth birthday party. These are just a few of the highlights of the “new style” Hike, that didn’t take place on a designated day this year. In keeping with the state of our world at the moment, people could hike anywhere and any time during the month of October.

The support Home Hospice North Lanark received from the community — hikers and sponsors — for the Hike was amazing! We couldn’t be more grateful. We flew right past our goal of $15K, raising almost $22K to date. The portal is still open at https://hhnl.ca/hike/ if you’d like to add to any of the team’s totals. A special thank you goes out to our corporate sponsors: Pet Valu, Rexall, Kathi Norton, Richon Homes, Coady’s Car Care, Glenelvin Farm and The Daily Scoop, all in Almonte.

The funds raised go to enabling us to continue supporting those in our community who have a life-limiting diagnosis by providing continuing education and training for our visiting volunteers as well as the salaries of the two part-time registered nurses who oversee the Visiting Volunteer Program and other operating costs such as insurance. HHNL is 100% funded through donations and targeted fundraising, although we did receive some emergency funding from the federal government during the pandemic.

HHNL Annual General Meeting

November 26 saw close to 30 people sign into HHNL’s first-ever Zoom Annual General Meeting. Board Chair Nancy Deschenes welcomed all attendees and went on to introduce the chairs of the various committees who gave their reports. The organization is in good shape in spite of the pandemic. Highlights included a description of how services were delivered while observing COVID restrictions (mainly via phone or video chat), and other initiatives such as sorely needed bereavement support and the delivery of meals to staff at long term care homes, hospitals and paramedics last Spring. Allison Griffiths RN BScN, coordinator of the Visiting Volunteer program reported that HHNL is supporting about 20% of individuals in our community at the end of life. In the hospice world this exceeds expectations.

“Although the numbers reflect the growth of the program and provide a measurement of our service provision it is not the whole story. The many acts of kindness and generosity of our visiting volunteers cannot be quantified but are the heart of our program.”

— Allison Griffiths

Three visiting volunteers — Jakob Berkowitz, Brenda Boyd and Patricia Coderre — who are each celebrating their fifth anniversary with HHNL, shared some thoughts and feelings. Each stated that they feel honoured to be welcomed into their client’s homes. It was obvious as we watched them speak that the experience of being present for a person who is nearing the end of life is a profound and gratifying experience for both the client and the volunteer. One of the individuals was involved in the new Long Term Care visiting program, which was launched in February 2020. An approximate 450 visiting hours were logged before the pandemic brought it a stop. The team is anxiously waiting for the day when that program can be resumed.

Since our 2019 Annual General Meeting, Board members Elaine Menard, Cathy Cochran, Christine Bois and Amanda Pulker Mok have left the Board with our warm thanks for their hard work. Since then, new Directors Helene Gilhooly, Phyllis Moore, Lauren Eyre, Michelle Kay and Deanna Barry were welcomed. HHNL is fortunate to have a dedicated, hard-working Board of Directors. The full reports to the Board are available at https://hhnl.ca/news/.

Plans for the future are to continue to develop and expand our reach within the community. As HHNL’s activities are more widely understood and utilized we hope to be able to help more families. Of course we can’t organize in-person events, but are looking at ways to deliver more programs such as Advance Care Planning workshops, and will certainly get things going quickly once restrictions are lifted.

The bottom line is that HHNL is surviving — even thriving — in the face of unprecedented times and remains committed to being an important part of our compassionate community. Warm thanks are extended to all of HHNL’s volunteers and supporters.