Hospice Huronia needs another $1 million to build Penetanguishene residential hospice

NEWS Feb 20, 2018 by Andrew Mendler Midland MirrorHospice Huronia fundraising

JoAnn Warren (left) and Anne Murphy have been hard at work trying to secure the neccessary funds for Hospice Huronia to build a new five-bed residential hospice in Penetanguishene. Although $1 million has been raised, another $1.3 million is needed. - Andrew Mendler/Metroland

Hospice Huronia is nearly halfway to its fundraising goal, but time is of the essence for the local charity to collect the funds necessary to build a new five-bed residential hospice.

�In order to get provincial operational dollars for those five beds moving forward we need to be up and running by March of 2019. If we are not operational by March 1 we could lose that provincial funding,� said Cate Root, executive director of Hospice Huronia.

In the fall of 2017, the province announced a new program to support the creation of new and expanded hospices across Ontario. This funding will help with the construction or renovation costs of more than 190 beds.

Hospice Huronia is hoping to capitalize on this opportunity, collect provincial funding and make its dream of building a local residence a reality.

After four and a half months of aggressive fundraising, the charity has raised $1 million. They are now eligible for capital funding from the province and expect to receive $200,000 per bed for each of the five beds, fuelling the project with another $1 million.

This funding is contingent on Hospice Huronia raising the rest of the necessary operating funds and getting the facility operational by March 2019. They need another $1.3 million.

�This is a huge opportunity and we need to take advantage of it,� said Root. �I think people need to understand how important this is to the community.�

Residential hospice provides expert care in a homelike environment, giving families and friends the space and care they need to be with their loved ones in their final days.

Rooms can be decorated to provide a homelike feel, pets can be brought by for visits and there are no visiting hours � families can stay over and be with their loved ones as long as they want.

�People want to be at home. If they can�t, they can come to us,� said Root.

The closest residential hospice facilities in Collingwood and Barrie offer a combined 16 hospice beds, which are full the majority of the time.

Getting five beds in Penetanguishene would provide residents in Springwater, Severn, Georgian Bay, Tiny and Tay Township�s, Midland, Penetanguishene and Beausoliel First Nation with a local support service.

Currently almost 55 per cent of cancer patients in the area die in acute care hospitals. A residential hospice would give those patients the option to spend their final days in a better atmosphere.

�It is all about living and living really well in those final days,� said JoAnn Warren, who has been leading the fundraising charge.

Hospice Huronia has teamed up with beer stores in Coldwater, Elmvale, Midland, Penetanguishene to offer residents the chance to donate their empties refunds to the new residential hospice during February.

This is just one of many fundraisers Hospice Huronia has implemented to try and get to their goal.

�The community has really been supporting us well. We are keeping our fingers crossed for more of that,� said Warren.

They hope to start construction on the new facility in May.

By Andrew Mendler