Parksville’s Christiana Conway, left, husband Chris Conway, right, and friend Elizabeth Doell write letters designed to bring Christmas cheer to senior residents at area care homes. (Submitted photo)

Parksville’s Christiana Conway, left, husband Chris Conway, right, and friend Elizabeth Doell write letters designed to bring Christmas cheer to senior residents at area care homes. (Submitted photo)

Vancouver Island woman helps create special messages of Christmas cheer for seniors

Hand-written letters designed to help lonely residents during holiday season

Christiana Conway moved to B.C. from Ireland late last year and still can’t help but feel a little melancholy and homesick.

“I know what it is to celebrate Christmas away from my parents and my siblings,” said Conway, who quickly realized others here are in a similar situation.

The 25-year-old has made a new home in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area. She said that when she thought about the many seniors in the area living in care homes, she imagined what they go through every Christmas.

She wanted to do something.

RELATED: B.C. seniors worry more about death from loneliness than COVID-19

RELATED: Connect with your elderly neighbours during COVID-19 crisis

“My heart really went out to them. I guess it’s a lonely season for the elderly every year and this year even more so with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Conway. “So I was thinking of a way that we could encourage them and I came up with this idea of writing letters.”

Conway, with the help of her husband Chris Conway and friend Elizabeth Doell, began writing letters by hand in October. It took them nearly three months to write 330 letters, which have now been distributed to senior residents at Stanford Village, Arrowsmith Lodge, Cokely Manor and Little Mountain Manor.

“They’re little Christmas cards and they have a little Christmas message and encouragement including well wishes for the coming year,” said Conway. “We want them to know that they’re loved and remembered this Christmas.”

Conway said they purchased the Christmas cards themselves but would have created them if more people were involved. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they weren’t able to get more friends to come out and join them.

“It took too much time writing them that we just didn’t have enough time to make the Christmas cards,” said Conway. “We’ve written quite a lot. We didn’t use a computer. We wanted them all hand-written because we wanted to have a personal touch. We’ve got a list of names and they’re personally addressed.”

Conway hopes to do it again next year and would like to personally hand them out to recipients.

“It has been a lot of fun and we’ve had a lot of support even before we began handing them out,” said Conway. “We definitely want to do this again and involve more people. I would like this to become a family tradition. It has been a great experience.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

charityChristmasHoliday givingParksvilleSeniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crews work on construction of the new composting facility at the Campbell River landfill. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Environment group wishes Comox Strathcona compost site was in a better spot

Province has guidelines on siting, but they are not legal requirements

COVID-19 virus (file photo).
COVID-19 exposures reported for two Campbell River schools

Campbell River Christian School and Ecole des Deux Mondes are the schools involved

The seasonal Search and Rescue program will run between May to September. ( File photo/Canadian Coast Guard)
Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Program starting up next week

Teams have protocols in place to ensure COVID-19 safety

Jacob Koomen takes his bike out for a spin near his home in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell Riverite to cycle length of Island to raise funds for cancer research

Long distance rides are no big deal for 73-year-old cyclist

The City of Campbell River will explore whether organic shoreline nutrification can be a part of its flood mitigation and shoreline restoration work after a presentation received at a recent council meeting showing its benefits. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
City of Campbell River to look at whether forestry waste could be used for shoreline improvements

‘Organic shoreline nutrification’ could see more areas of the beach become more accessible

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read