The non-profit organization Heartland Hospice Moose Jaw was established in Nov. 2014 to improve and expand palliative care options in the city.
Palliative care is the relief of symptoms and suffering caused by a severe illness — in other words, the improvement of a patient’s quality of life. It is a separate concept from curative care, which seeks to stop the illness.
Hospice care is a form of palliative care designed specifically for the final six months of a person’s life.
The ultimate goal of Heartland Hospice Moose Jaw is to establish three dedicated hospice beds at the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s (SHA) Pioneer Lodge facility. The plan will require extensive renovations and includes a family resource centre, serenity garden, sacred space, separate entrance for family members, and palliative training for Pioneer Lodge staff.
Sara Bryan, vice-chair of the Heartland Hospice board, said 2022 was an extremely busy year. In particular, on May 26, at Heartland Hospice’s “Evening Under the Stars” Gala Fundraiser, the organization announced an official capital campaign for Pioneer Lodge renovations.
The first major campaign sponsor was Conexus Credit Union, which made a $20,000 donation.
“Thanks to fundraising and community support via donations of all sizes we are making tremendous progress towards our campaign goal,” Bryan said. “Some donors we would like to thank for 2022 include, but are by no means limited to, Babich Farms, Golden West Trailers and Equipment, the Jameson family, Mark Gilles, the Fergusons, the Seamans, the Tonis, and the Ackerman family.
“We have also been extremely touched that some families have chosen us as a donation in lieu of flowers at the passing of their loved ones.”
Bryan said that Heartland Hospice’s 2022 highlights include:
- The board worked in conjunction with the SHA, Ministry of Health, Pioneer Lodge, and Alton Tangedal Architect Ltd. out of Regina to develop blueprints for the hospice wing at Pioneer Lodge. Those plans will be going out for tender within the month.
- In February, Moose Jaw Women Who Care held a fundraiser featuring Heartland Hospice chair Angela Sereda and raised $2,521.
- The Mad Greek Restaurant’s Rib Night Fundraisers in March and December raised a combined total of $4,285.
- June saw the completion of phase 2 of the Serenity Garden, with a concrete pad and sidewalk donated by Cypress Concrete, the completion of a beautiful gazebo donated by the Eberts family with furnishings donated by Medavie West Health Services, and much more work on the garden achieved, including planting many new shrubs donated by Keon’s Garden Centre.
- In July, the first annual 'Heartlights Memorial Ceremony' in the Heartland Hospice Serenity Garden honoured the memory of those whose final days were spent on Pioneer Lodge’s Memory Lane and hospice room, those who worked as caregivers for their needs, and their beloved who grieve.
- In July, Heartland Hospice granted their third My Wish, a program that tries to fulfill the final wishes of hospice patients.
- September saw the 'Tim Horton’s Smile Cookie' campaign, featuring notorious Moose Javians from the Moose Jaw Warriors hockey team to first responders, Mayor Clive Tolley and the local MLAs, teachers, reporters, bankers, and businesspeople. The campaign raised $35,866 – more cookies were sold than there are people in Moose Jaw.
- In October, the Moose Jaw Firefighters hosted a Halloween Cabaret with the proceeds of $5,643 being donated to Heartland Hospice. The Moose Jaw Shriners Club did the bartending and Family Pizza donated the pizza.
- In December, a memorial tree went up in front of Pioneer Lodge to cheer residents and remember loved ones. The tree was once again sponsored by Moose Jaw Co-op.
Bryan said she and the rest of the board hope that 2023 might be their most successful year so far.
“We are optimistic,” she added, “that, barring any unexpected delays, construction will be completed in time for a fall grand opening!”
Heartland Hospice’s Capital Campaign is still ongoing and seeking sponsors. For more information, see the website at heartlandhospicemj.ca or phone 306-690-8699 or email email@example.com to have a donor package mailed out.