LEGACY GIVING ‘It has been an honour to know you’ By BARB HAGAN The clock ticked down the seconds of a long
life, and I could hear death coming with every laboured breath. To say I knew Billie might be inaccurate, but
it was also true. Every Saturday afternoon, I visited her in my role as a Central Okanagan Hospice Association bedside volunteer. In early January, Billie and I sat chatting for longer than usual, talking about nothing in par- ticular and watching PJ, the peach-faced love- bird, flying freely through the corridors of Hospice House. When I went back the next Saturday after- noon, she was comatose; I sat with her from 9:30 p.m. until 4 a.m.At
8 p.m.I was back and sat in the silence, holding the space, being a witness to her life, making sure she did not die alone.
Her breathing changed so suddenly, I almost missed it; death was coming on velvet wings. I leaned over her, stroking her hand as she took her final breath, a dying exclamation. “It has been an honour to know you, Billie,
have a nice trip.” And she was gone. – Ross Freake, COHA hospice palliative and bereavement volunteer
At some time, in some way, we must all face the end of life, and most of us share a com- mon hope – that when death comes to us or to a loved one, it will be peaceful and free of pain. We hope to face death surrounded by those we love, feeling safe, comfortable and cared for.
Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association Established in 1982, Central Okanagan Hospice Association has provided quality Hospice Palliative care and Bereavement sup- port to residents in the Central Okanagan from Peachland to Oyama for thirty years. In partnership with the Kelowna General Hospital, Interior Health and the BC Cancer Centre (Southern Interior), COHA’s trained vol- unteers often walk the journey with families from terminal diagnosis to end of life and then continue to reach out through one-to-one and group bereavement services. All of which are offered free of charge.
our province in that we are the only hospice in British Columbia that offers 24/7 Vigil care.Our volunteers often tell us that spending time with the terminally ill – watching and waiting as they pass – is an honour.
Death is not a topic that is easily broached in
western culture. COHA exists in the belief that through skilled support and a sensitive, caring community, individuals may be free to attain the degree of preparation for end of life and resolution through bereavement that is most beneficial to them.“When cure is not possible, compassionate care will still prevail.” COHA’s Palliative Care Program is unique in
Currently in Canada, more than 259,000 peo- ple die each year.Th
e Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada (QELCCC) forecasts that due to our aging population this number will increase by 40% to 330,000 by the year 2026. Not surprisingly, these increases are present- ing enormous challenges for hospice organiza- tions across the country to raise adequate funds to respond to the growing need. It was for this reason that COHA created the Legacy Giving program. By considering a gift in your will to benefit Central Okanagan Hospice Association, you become part of our Community of Care today and into the future. For more information call 250-763-5511, email email@example.com
or visit www.hospice- coha.org
Barb Hagan is legacy giving and grants manager with the Central Okanagan Hospice Association.
15 THE OKANAGAN SUNDAY, MAY 13, 2012
Help us help the Children, Youth and Families who look to us for support Just in the last year alone we served:
more than 6,700
children & youth served annually 906 homeless youth
were supported by our shelter 1 in 3 members
accessed our programs & services 4,800 members fed
nutritious meal and/or snacks 31 locations
The Okanagan Boys & Girls Clubs provide a safe, supportive place where Okanagan children, youth and families can experience new opportunities and develop
For more information on our legacy program call 250 762 3914 or firstname.lastname@example.org
donate online at www.boysandgirlsclubs.ca
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