She recalls how a hospice brought comfort to her mother in her dying days and hopes many more families will have the benefit of such a facility.
Long-time Valley Hospice Foundation supporter Janet Ness first became involved in the initiative through her work with the VON Annapolis Valley, where she met Valley Hospice Foundation co-ordinator Dale Sanford.
Ness, whose mother died in a hospice in Grimsby, Ontario, said the Hike for Valley Hospice fundraiser does more than raise money and awareness. It also gives people who have had loved ones experience the care and comfort of a hospice setting the opportunity to share their memories with others.
Her mother was diagnosed with cancer at age 92 and chose not to have aggressive chemotherapy or surgery.
“During that time, our ‘family’ grew to include the staff and volunteers at the McNally House Hospice who supported us in her journey,” Ness said. “My mother’s medical and social needs were catered to at any time of the day. Her private room was comfortable, and her bed could be wheeled outside to savour the sun and warmth – creating a sense of harmony.”
Over $23,000 was raised through the May 12 hike to enhance private patios for each of the 10 bedrooms at the new residential hospice now under construction in Kentville.
Ness said hospice care also provides restorative breaks for loved ones. This helped the family to be present with her mother in a deep and meaningful way as they said their goodbyes.
A participant in the hike, Ness had previously served on the organizing committee for the fundraiser, supporting initiatives that will enhance the future of Valley Hospice care.
“The funds raised at the Hike for Hospice is crucial to the Valley Hospice Foundation – and now the Hospice itself,” Ness said. “It raises awareness about what a hospice is, the fact that this option even exists, and how it fits with our end-of-life wishes.”
She said she truly hopes and expects that many more people will experience the gift of a peaceful death when the Valley Hospice is a reality.
The public is invited to join the Valley Hospice Foundation at its annual general meeting at the Nova Scotia Community College Kingstec Campus in Kentville on June 12 at 7 p.m.
For more information, visit www.valleyhospice.ca .