The Cheadle Lions Club just east of Calgary decided last fall to feed a pen of 18 steers and auction them this spring to start a building fund.
“We understand the enormity of it for our little club,” said Sonny Warrack who said the idea came from his mother-in-law.
The club has about 30 members and staged a live internet auction.
The top steer fetched $7,400 and the feeding company, Cattleland, donated $3,000 worth of feed for the project.
Plans are already underway to collect 650 pound steers for the fall and do it all again next spring.
Cheadle is located near Calgary. Too often rural people suffering a terminal illness have no alternatives. If they want to go to a hospice they must leave their communities, Warrack said.
Once the club has enough funds, it will consider buying land to build.
There are probably about 80 hospices in rural areas and small communities across Canada, said Sharon Baxter of the Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care Association based in Ottawa.
Many started as projects like the Cheadle initiative and were built for the same reason — families wanted their loved ones close to home for end of life care.
“If the catchment area is 100 miles, people aren’t going to do it. People want their mom and dad or loved one to be closer,” she said.
There are different models where a residential hospice with eight to 10 beds is offered or some are attached to long-term care facilities where residents can be tended by specially trained nurses and physicians.
“Most provinces don’t fund 100 percent of residential hospices. That means a lot of money has got to be raised from the community.”