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$10,000 Donation from Norwood Masons

After closing the doors of the historic Norwood Masonic Lodge, members have donated $10,000 to Hospice Peterborough from the sale of the building.

“We are incredibly touched that Norwood Masons have thought of Hospice Peterborough at this time and thank them for this meaningful gift,” says Hospice Peterborough Executive Director Hajni Hős. “We will ensure this gift is used to provide our accredited palliative and bereavement services to local residents in need and we will honor the Norwood Masons for their incredible generosity on our Donor Wall.”

From left, Aimée O’Reilly, Hospice Peterborough Communications and Fundraising Coordinator; Norwood Masons Senior Member Doug Pearcy; Norwood Masons Secretary Keith Buchanan; Hospice Peterborough Executive Director Hajni Hős; and Norwood Masons Past Master Nigel McArthur during the June 14 cheque presentation.

The historic lodge has existed since 1870 and was housed in a former Pentecostal church. The Norwood Masons purchased the building about 40 years ago and turned it into a lodge where the membership would hold meetings and gatherings, says senior member Doug Pearcy.

Since the start of the pandemic, Mr. Pearcy says, the building has been largely vacant and it became unfeasible to maintain so the membership made the difficult decision to sell in October 2021. Under the group’s charter, all proceeds must be used for charitable purposes and the Masons are also donating to other local non-profits including Brock Mission, Crossroads Women’s Shelter, the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, the Peterborough Humane Society, the New Canadians Centre, Hospice Norwood, local food banks, the Five Counties Children’s Centre, Campbellford Memorial Hospital and The Bridge Hospice in Warkworth.

“The legacy of the Norwood Masons will live on through these gifts that we hope will continue to improve our local communities,” Mr. Pearcy says. “We are glad we can contribute to the good work of Hospice Peterborough in helping so many people through life-threatening illness and end-of-life care.”

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COVID-19 Protection Protocols, Including Masks, Remain in Place at Hospice Peterborough

While at midnight on Saturday, June 11 the last of the Ontario mask mandates are set to expire, many healthcare settings in the province will continue to require masking in their facilities. 

Upon review by our Outbreak Management Team, and in alignment with current public health guidance and our partners at PRHC, Hospice Peterborough will be continuing with the current protocols that are in place. These include donning a new medical mask upon entry (provided by Hospice Peterborough), screening at the front desk and enhanced cleaning and infection-control measures. Rapid Antigen Tests continue to be available for those who choose to be tested.

As a high risk setting, we have a responsibility to provide a safe care environment and we know that masks are one of the most effective ways to do so.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we continue to strive to provide compassionate, quality, and safe care to those at the end of life, those living with a life-threatening illness, and those who are bereaved and grieving.

We will continue to monitor any changes and will communicate in a timely manner. With questions or for clarification, please reach out to Executive Director Hajni Hős hhos@hospicepeterborough.org or 705-742-4042.

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A ‘Special and Caring Place’ Where Volunteers Stay Engaged

Hospice Peterborough highlights responses for annual volunteer survey during National Volunteer Week April 24-30

Our volunteers are amazing.

Despite the pandemic forcing many volunteers to stay home and away from the Hospice Peterborough building, many have continued to stay engaged because they believe so strongly in our mission of enhancing the comfort, dignity and quality of life of individuals and families living with or affected by life-threatening illness or grief.

We thank those who recently took the time to complete our annual volunteer survey, which was completed at the end of March and provides valuable input that we take into consideration in day-to-day decision making and program development.

Volunteers Joyce and Laurie stand with Hospice Peterborough staff Sharon Cupples and Carolyn Parkes during National Volunteer Week.

“As it’s National Volunteer Week, we thought there was no better time to share some highlights from the survey results and, once again, thank our wonderful volunteers for continuing to be the heart of Hospice,” says Carolyn Parkes, Volunteer Services Lead at Hospice Peterborough. 

Throughout the pandemic, volunteers have engaged both virtually and, when restrictions permitted, in-person such as greeting visitors at the reception desk or offering friendly bedside visits in the Residence. Volunteers have also supported clients by phone and with client and bereavement groups that have been meeting virtually.

Organizationally, volunteers have kept Hospice running by serving on the Board and committees as well as helping with tasks such as weeding and watering our gardens, trainings and meetings. Many have also continued to help Hospice fundraise by participating in the Hike Your Way event and by talking about Hospice to friends and neighbours who in turn donated to Hospice.

Through the survey we learned that almost all respondents (95%) felt Hospice Peterborough continued to engage and support them throughout the pandemic through various methods including the Highlighter newsletter, emails, podcasts, Mindful Nourishment meditation, social media and online meetings.

One volunteer stated, “(I) so very much appreciate the support of my Hospice family.”

When asked how satisfied they were with their experience at Hospice before and during COVID, comments included feelings of being ‘well-oriented’ and ‘welcomed,’ while calling Hospice Peterborough a ‘special and caring place.’

One volunteer went as far as to say: “Most valuable volunteer opportunity I have ever had.’

Thanks to all Hospice our amazing volunteers, past and present; we truly couldn’t do it without you.

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Summer Sips

We are thrilled to finally be able to invite you for an evening in beautiful Bailieboro at Rolling Grape Vineyard.

We hope you can join us for dinner, drinks, and live music.

Thursday June 2nd, 2022 | 6pm – 9pm
Rolling Grape Vineyard
260 County Rd 2 Bailieboro ON
Tickets $80 – includes a $35 tax receipt

Limited Tickets!
We can’t wait to see you there!

All Public Health recommendations will be adhered to.
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Volunteering in End-of-Life Programs a ‘Profound’ Experience

During National Volunteer Week (April 24 to 30), Gisele Lalonde – one of hundreds of our cherished volunteers – discusses the impact of supporting local women in their palliative journeys

When Gisele Lalonde started volunteering with Hospice Peterborough more than a decade ago, she thought that her role in supporting local women through their palliative journeys would be primarily one of giving her time and energy. Little did she know that she would receive so much.

Gisele Lalonde

Gisele says that whether she is sitting at a client’s bedside, serving lunch at the Day Hospice program or offering meditation to program participants over Zoom, she often finds that these unique opportunities encourage her to be more present in her own life.

“It has slowed me down and made me more appreciative of every day,” she says. “It’s hard to describe, and there may be no English word for it, but it feels like my experience with Hospice Peterborough has expanded my awareness of living, ageing, grief and joy. It has certainly made life more poignant.”

Gisele is one of hundreds of Hospice Peterborough volunteers who support our mission of enhancing the comfort, dignity and quality of life of people living with or affected by life-threatening illness or grief. During National Volunteer Week, April 24-30, Hospice Peterborough is sending a special thank-you to each and every one of our volunteers.

For Gisele, the experience over the years has been profound and, to her, the Hospice Community has become a vital and valued connection.  

The retired Community Development Worker says she first started volunteering with the Client Support Program, where she met with local women in their homes to listen to their stories throughout their end-of-life journey. She also met with family members and caregivers who appreciated the respite that the Hospice program provided.

Currently, she volunteers with the Day Hospice Women’s Group, led by a staff member. Prior to COVID she met with the women in person at the Hospice building and also helped serving lunch. The meetings could be intense and emotional, she says, but could also be full of joy and laughter.

During the first wave of COVID, she thought her volunteer days might be over but was amazed at how quickly Hospice Peterborough pivoted the women’s group to a virtual platform, allowing for continued connection and support.

“It is such a privilege to continue to bear witness to their journey and also participate in the happiness of good news such as positive test results, a trip, or a new grandchild,” she says. “The meetings are peppered with every emotion: laughter, grief, anger, frustration, love and joy. I feel ‘full’ to be a part of it all”

Gisele continues to offer a meditation to open the Zoom meetings, provides updates to the group and supports special events such as crafting together online during the holidays.  

When the pandemic ends, she’d like to further support Hospice by possibly becoming a Grief Companion.

While Hospice Peterborough thanks her and all volunteers for their vital support, Gisele says she is the one who is thankful. “I feel so fortunate,” she says, “to be a part of an organization that offers such a caring and supportive environment.”

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Volunteers Wanted!

We are looking for Client Support Volunteers to join our team!

Graduating Volunteer Training class of Fall 2021

We are excited to announce dates for the mandatory 30 hours volunteer training, running 10 weeks in the evening starting April 12th. This training will take place in-person.
Information/orientation sessions will take March 22nd at 6:30pm via Zoom and March 29th at 6:30 in-person. Please register for one of these sessions by calling Carolyn at 705-742-4042 or emailing cparkes@hospicepeterborough.org.

We are so thrilled to be able to welcome new volunteers!

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Unconditional Support, Advice and Camaraderie in Face of Terminal Illness

Chrystine Somerville shares her experience of the women’s support group and says the Hospice Peterborough program has been a ‘godsend’

After being diagnosed with cancer and moving with her husband to Young’s Point for retirement, Chrystine Somerville knew very few people, didn’t know the area and had little knowledge about what local health supports were available, especially in the middle of a pandemic.

When she heard that Hospice Peterborough was offering a virtual women’s support group, for those with a terminal illness, she decided to give it a try and says she knew from the very first minute of the meeting that she had found “the right place to be.”

“This group has been a godsend,” says the 56-year-old. “The support, the laughter, the suggestions, the encouragement, the camaraderie, the understanding, the heartfelt empathy and so on that is the makeup of our group, is a lifeline in a sometimes confusing, often raging storm called cancer. I am beyond grateful for having been accepted into this group and supported by these wonderful women.”

Known as Day Hospice, this program offers a professional facilitator to guide women’s and men’s groups through the journey of living with a terminal diagnosis. It is often a lifeline for participants by offering support, advocacy and healthcare navigation services during what can be the participants’ most difficult stage of life. The group often opens with a guided meditation and then offers the chance to share updates, ask for advice or simply sit and listen. Participants often brainstorm about how others manage their illness, medication, family issues, physical and emotional pain and COVID-19, all while supporting each other.

Clients learn from each other, support each other and also learn new and practical methods of coping with their illness including self-care, dietary needs and managing anxiety.

Chrystine Somerville

For the past nine years, Kawartha Credit Union has generously funded Day Hospice and, like all of Hospice’s programs and services, there is never a fee for participants to join.

Before COVID-19, the groups used to meet in person once per week, followed by a shared lunch. As of March 2020, however, Hospice Peterborough immediately pivoted to a Zoom platform – never missing a weekly session – to continue supporting clients at a time when traditional support from family and friends has been severely limited.

For people like Chrystine, that means that throughout an unprecedented time of isolation and social distancing, she has made friends, felt supported and learned more about her medical condition, all without ever setting foot in the Hospice Peterborough building.

“I’d still like to get in there one day!” she says with a laugh.

Chrystine says the most important thing to know is that the groups are far from “doom and gloom.” While all participants understand the realities of each other’s conditions and often lean on each other in times of sadness, she says the energy is one of “loving and caring” with room for laughter, jokes, hopeful stories, family news and, perhaps most importantly, unconditional support with no judgement.

As COVID-19 restrictions ease, she and other participants have been able to safely meet outside of the group for lunch and small social gatherings.

“Having said that, it’s not a coffee club,” Chrystine adds. “We are all dealing with a terminal illness and it’s very comforting to be able to be there for one another unconditionally.”

Chrystine says she’s thankful for the program, which can also direct participants to other Hospice programs and services such as a supportive care counsellor. She’s also overwhelmed that this service has no fee, thanks to generous community donations from businesses such as the Kawartha Credit Union as well as individuals.

“I am just so grateful,” she says. “Hospice Peterborough is on my gratitude list every day.”