Q. Tell me a bit about the history of the hospice.
A. Powell River Hospice Society was started by a group of interested community members, including myself. We advertised and had a number of meetings with our community and that started the formation of our nonprofit, which was incorporated as a society on July 16, 2014. We then went about forming our first board which now has a total of six people, and includes a community physician, a nurse in palliative care, a retired palliative care nurse, myself (a social worker who worked in palliative care), another community member whose husband works in hospice palliative care, and our treasurer. We just finished training our first group of volunteers, and 20 graduated from the program. Some of the graduates used to work in hospital. As soon as they were trained, they’ve been matched in the community in bereavement and palliative care. We’ve completed 29 palliative care referrals since its inception. We’ve also had 10 bereavement referrals, and we’re just about to begin our first adult support group.
Q. How many years has your hospice participated in the Hike?
A. This year will be our second National Hike for Hospice. Last year, our organization was still so new but we had about 200 people show up. We’ve done a number of public education events around the Hike. Last month we partnered with a film society and showcased the movie Tender. There was a panel afterwards, and more than 100 people stayed for the discussion.
Q. Is there anything new or noteworthy about your Hike this year?
A. I have a group of volunteers helping with the Hike. We recently won a Community Impact grant which helped in the development of the Hike. We’ve also recently completed some community events on Advance Care Planning in partnership with the City of Powell River.
Q. Share a fun memory of a past hike.
A. Last year the Lions Club supported us with hotdogs, and Starbucks provided coffee, and we also had a BBQ. Shaw Cable did a long video promoting the Hike for us, which was really memorable, and they are planning on coming back this year.
Sandy adds, “This year we’re trying to spread the word as much as possible, and there has been tremendous interest from the community. I’d love to see more physicians come out for the walk. Palliative care is an amazing community. It takes two ferries to get here and we’re six hours from Vancouver. We’re a very community oriented and there’s lots of support.”