The West Island Palliative Care Residence is starting a new initiative to engage young people (18-35 years old) in the community and for them to learn more about the timely and decisive issue of end-of-life care. Patients and their families need a voice. A voice which broadcasts the importance of palliative care, government and community support and universal access. At least 70% of Canadians who require end-of-life care die without it. So what can young people do as a group? They can help educate and build awareness on the importance of palliative care among their peers. They can help to let them know that palliative care services are a right and everyone should die with dignity, in a compassionate environment and surrounded by loved ones. They will be the generation to demand these services as their due.
The West Island Palliative Care Residence Young Ambassadors’ first event was a Pub Night at Cunningham’s Pub in Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue on Wednesday, September 23rd. The master of ceremonies for the evening was Heather Backman from CHOM FM. A testimonial was given by one of the Residence’s young volunteers, Niech’Elle-Simone Skeete, who was able to make palliative care more relevant to the young audience by speaking about her experience at the Residence when her mom was a patient. The focus of the evening was one of the Residence’s core values, the celebration of life. “We cannot add days to life but we can add life to days.”
“We have a committed group of young volunteers ready to lead this initiative and they plan on organizing a few fun events a year with a dual purpose to raise funds along with awareness.,” said Teresa Dellar, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Residence. “We thank all those young people who turned out in such great numbers this evening. It is very gratifying to see this group supporting our commitment to provide high-quality end-of-life care for the community and raising awareness about palliative care.”
The West Island Palliative Care Residence is an independent, community-based, non-profit organization. It is not affiliated with any hospital or health institution and services are provided without charge to patients and their families. The Residence receives one-third of its operational budget from the Quebec government and relies on community support and fundraising activities to raise more than 3 million dollars each year.
The Residence has 23 beds in two pavilions, making it the largest freestanding palliative care residence in Canada. Since opening in 2002, the Residence has welcomed more than 2,900 patients in the final stages of ALS, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as 12,000 of their family members. To learn more, visit PalliativeCareResidence.com or our Facebook page at Facebook.com/WestIsland.PalliativeRareResidence.