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Story of hope from an amazing art therapy client at Hospice

"When I met Donna, both of us were in our early teens. We married at a young age and worked together to build a loving family, blessed with a daughter and son, and now three beautiful grandchildren. Donna had started feeling poorly, which became a long and drawn out journey, traveling from doctor to doctor to find out what was wrong. It was very difficult not knowing the cause of the problem that took a toll on both of us. Eventually Donna was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. The doctor told us this is a terminal illness. Donna’s health was in a steady decline, but she might be a candidate for a lung transplant. We remember that day clearly. After the diagnosis from the doctor, we walked out of his office feeling shock, confusion and disbelief. Thus, we started our journey through the disease of Pulmonary Fibrosis and trying to get approval for a double lung transplant with endless trips to doctors, hospitals and tests and Donna’s rapidly declining health. In a search for added support, I walked in the door of the Hospice Society, not knowing for sure what they could do but I was desperate for help. I wanted to be strong for Donna but I was finding myself sinking deeper by the day. Walking into Hospice was comforting. I quickly learned that I had come to the right place. They encouraged me to begin utilizing some of their holistic relaxation services to help me relax and allow my mind to rest. I took advantage of healing touch, reiki and reflexology. Through Hospice, Donna was able to receive reiki and spiritual support while in hospital. Looking back, it was obvious that I was struggling as I found out later -- I kept coming to my appointments on the wrong day but they kindly found a way to squeeze me in when I arrived. They understood the state I was in and were very gracious. I then began Art Therapy which was a key component to being able to cope with the situation. Art Therapy allowed me to talk about anything, even things I couldn’t talk to Donna or other family about. I was able to express myself more easily using the Art Therapy method. I found solace, which helped me be stronger for Donna. As time went by, Donna’s health continued to decline and we thought we would lose her -- our lives became very difficult. I continued Art Therapy but came to a point that I felt I could no longer draw. Kathryn asked if she could draw something for me. She made me a drawing of a badge on a piece of paper. This was a symbol to remind me of my inner strength, to take care of myself and to remember I’m not alone. I keep this small piece of paper in my wallet, which I take it out at times when life becomes particularly difficult – which was often during our journey. (See photo). This paper has become worn but remains a special reminder of my inner strength and helped me face each day. Then on September 24, 2018, we got a phone call – they found a transplant for Donna! I had to call the Hospice staff and the Spiritual Care volunteer to let them all know it was happening. They were overjoyed and cheered us on as they watched the helicopter take off to Vancouver. This was just over a year ago and Donna is doing well. In fact, she was able to attend the Dave Rennie Memorial Golf Tournament this year. It was a profound moment for all of us. I will forever be grateful for Hospice staff and volunteers.please consider making a donation to the 1st annual holiday campaign at "

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