Celebrating 25 Years of Compassionate Care
Over 100 friends and supporters gathered earlier this month for an intimate dinner to celebrate the 25th Birthday of Pilgrims Hospice Society and to honour the original Founders.
From champagne on the patio to birthday cake, and collections of Pilgrims’ photos over 25 years to portrait sketches by artist Elaine Burgland, the heartfelt evening was a perfect blend of laughter and reminiscing.
Welcoming the guests, Monica Robson, Executive Director, said:
“This is a field of work that attracts remarkable people. Volunteers, staff, and donors who understand the complexities of end-of-life. People who are smart, humble and kind. People who give of themselves each and every day. This room is filled with those people.
It is my honour tonight to invite two of our brightest, most caring stars to the podium.
Two remarkable women who 25 years ago had a vision they then brought forward to reality. The Founders of Pilgrims Hospice Society, Marion Boyd and Dr. Helen Hays.”
Speech Highlight: Dr. Helen Hays, co-Founder
“Prior to starting Pilgrims Hospice, I was working with a very dedicated palliative care team at the General Hospital. Doing house calls, it was clear that what people wanted when they were very sick was: to be at home if possible; to not be a burden on their families; and many – those who were elderly and alone in particular – wanted to be with their pets.
Patricia Lynch Ordynec approached me as she had lost a teenage son and was passionate about homecare for the dying. Then I met Marion Boyd – an old friend – at the movies. She was looking for something to do and she has been with Pilgrims ever since….
Now we have a smart, hard-working Board with Monica Robson as Executive Director – an experienced and steady hand – and her great team and wonderful volunteers.
Marion, our wonderful city of Edmonton has much to thank you for, as Pilgrims moves into a new, exciting phase.”
Speech Highlight: Marion Boyd, co-Founder
“Facilitating the establishment and growth of Pilgrims has been a great adventure over the past 25 years. I think of the hospice as usually filled with laughter, although at times with tears; of the reward of knowing how many people we have helped through periods of their lives where there seemed to be little to smile about and where hope was scarce.
So many stories are in my head of care, compassion and helping to relieve suffering. Many live in my heart forever. There were of course times when the challenges sometimes seemed insurmountable but with eternal optimism, I always felt that we would find a way around the barriers – and we did. But this of course was not done by myself and Helen alone….
The international symbol of Hospice Care is the Sunflower – a flower with a glorious shape and colour, which draws its strength from focusing on the light and following the sun’s course during the day. The flower head is made up of hundreds of small flowers crowded together but it looks just like one flower.
Pilgrims Hospice Society is also made up of many individual parts – staff, donors, volunteers – all linked together by a single objective: to provide quality care and compassionate support to those confronted with the challenges and consequences of life-limiting illness.
It is because of you and all the many others who have been and are a part of our story, that we are still here after 25 years. And it is why we shall continue to move forward to the next chapter of our story with the opening of the Roozen Family Hospice Centre – making our circle of care complete by including a residential component. This is your legacy as much as mine and Helen’s….