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Hospice seeks friends

The Cranbrook Kimberley Hospice Society would like volunteers to help with the fundraising side of the non-profit's operations

There is a new way to support the Cranbrook Kimberley Hospice Society.

Next week, the hospice society will hold an informal gathering for people interested in volunteering with the soon-to-be-formed Friends of Hospice group.

The meeting will be held at Frank's Steak and Schnitzel Haus in Cranbrook on Thursday, September 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Friends of Hospice will support the society by fundraising for its ongoing operations and special projects.

"We want the Friends of the Hospice to help us fundraise events and special projects," said Jeanne Davidson, executive director of the society.

"We have a lot of volunteers who want to work with clients but don't enjoy fundraising. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who don't want to do the hands-on work with clients, but are interested in fundraising," said the society's president, Don Davidson.

"People have different skill sets and different amounts of time available. Some people couldn't commit on an ongoing basis to a specific client.

"Fundraising support is something people can do as it comes up and fit it around their own life."

The Hospice Society provides emotional support at end of life for clients and bereaved families.

Its services include: client and family visits wherever the client is – at home, in hospital, in extended care or in residential care; a vigil service in the last days of life; phone support for bereaved friends and family; a bereavement support group; and a walk-and-talk program where bereaved people can meet others who share the same feelings.

The current hospice society formed its board of directors in 2007. Jeanne Davidson began coordinating the services in 2009, and the society took on its first client in 2010.

Now there are 25 active volunteers for the society, 10 board members, and a total of around 50 members of the society.

The hospice society will continue to grow in coming months with several new projects. In November, the society will launch the Rainbows program.

"It is for elementary-aged children who have experienced a loss in their lives through separation, divorce, death or a move to a new community," explained Jeanne.

Next year, the society will launch the My Voice public education program, a provincial health initiative to encourage people to write formal plans for what they want to happen to them when they come close to the end of their life.

"In order to do that we will need money for the equipment and books included in it," said Don.

And in an exciting development, the society hopes to soon start looking into the possibility of developing a hospice facility in Cranbrook or Kimberley.

"The decision by the board is that we should start investigating the feasibility and practicality of establishing a hospice facility," said Don.

It's a large project, he explained, and the society may look at potential locations, which could require work such as engineering assessments and architectural drawings.

"That's the reason we have to start looking at fundraising," said Don.

The Friends of Hospice will make all of these projects possible.

"This will be a very significant support for the hospice society. We are always worried about fundraising," said Don.

"It's a great way for people to be able to support the hospice society in a meaningful way."

Those interested in Friends of Hospice are invited to Frank's Steak and Schnitzel Haus on Thursday, September 26 at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, phone 250-417-2019, toll free 1-855-417-2019 or visit