Julie Collis

Campbell River Hospice raffle could get you to ‘zoom-zoom’

In order to continue the many services the society offers, the hospice leans heavily on its three annual fundraiser

The Campbell River Hospice Society helped more than one thousand people cope with death last year and this year the non-profit is appealing to the community for some assistance.

In order to continue the many services the society offers, the hospice leans heavily on its three annual fundraisers – Angel Rock, Celebrate A Life, and its annual summer time raffle.

This year the hospice is giving away a 2012 Mazda 2, along with free gas for one year, but ticket sales so far have been slow.

Iona Wharton, hospice community co-ordinator, said fundraising is the society’s lifeline.

“We get very minimal funding,” she said. “We probably fund about half of our operating budget at our events.”

The Vancouver Island Health Authority funds three per cent of the hospice’s annual operating budget. Julie Collins, hospice office administrator, said the society receives $5,700 a year from the health authority which equates to just $0.12 per person, per capita.

“That’s why it’s important that people support us and buy a ticket on the car,” she said.

The rest of the operating money comes from grants from groups such as the United Way, Direct Access, and the provincial gaming grants.

Wharton said the society, which has three paid staff and 65 volunteers, benefits from community support.

“Our annual raffle is part of the fundraising we have to do every year to keep our doors open because we don’t charge for our services,” she said. “We do a lot of counselling here, which normally runs from $100-$120 an hour. We do that for free and our clients appreciate it. This is not a wealthy town.”

The hospice and its trained volunteers provide several programs and services aimed at helping those facing death and their families and friends by offering them spiritual and emotional support. And the work does not end after a loved one passes away.

“We continue with the family,” Wharton said. “We have two counsellors trained in psychology and social work and they can see those counsellors once a week for as long as they need to work through their grief.”

The hospice also helps provides direction to grief-stricken families when they need it most.

“Dying can be a very private thing but it’s also very scary and it puts a lot of stress not only on the person who’s ill but the family,” Wharton said. “Everyone’s life is going to change and (we can help) with getting affairs in order, mending fences and tying up loose ends. It’s also about making sure they (the family) have a connection to all the resources. You know a lot of people don’t know what the next step is when someone dies.”

Volunteers also try to help ease the pain of losing a loved one whether it be by stopping by for tea or a round of bridge. They also provide respite care to allow care givers time to get out of the house.

“Volunteers do so much for people,” Wharton said. “People will pick up groceries for those who can’t get out, as well as provide that emotional support.”

The hospice society also provides a widow and widowers support group; grief loss and counselling; a bereavement program; a lending library full of books, government forms, estate and funeral home information; as well as the Sally Wellman Memorial Garden, where plaques in memory of loved ones grow. The hospice also runs a weekly walking support group on Mondays at Frank James Park at 10 a.m. where people can connect with others experiencing grief.

To help support the hospice society, purchase raffle tickets (three for $20) at the hospice office (301 Dogwood Street); at the Sunday Farmers Market; or at this weekend’s Salmon Festival at Nunns Creek Park. For more ticket information call (250) 286-1121. The winning ticket will be drawn Sept. 2 at the North Island Cruisers Show ‘n’ Shine on Shoppers Row at 2 p.m.