Erie Shores Hospice celebrates official opening

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Dignitaries and residents from around Essex County packed into a tent on the grounds of the new Erie Shores campus of the Hospice of Windsor-Essex County to officially open the new ten-bed facility.

The home is the first satellite residential campus in Canada and its opening saw greetings brought from Chatham-Ken-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls and Chatham-Kent-Leamington MP Dave Van Kesteren, but also greetings sent on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well.

The ribbon was officially cut last Wednesday afternoon for the Hospice of Windsor-Essex's new Erie Shores campus.

The ribbon was officially cut last Wednesday afternoon for the Hospice of Windsor-Essex’s new Erie Shores campus.

Essex County Warden Tom Bain thanked those who were behind the creation of the new facility as well as the team who implemented that vision. County council originally pledged $2 million towards the new Hospice back in 2014 and Bain recalled it didn’t take the council of the day very long to decide to fund it.

“It was a $2 million donation and it took about five minutes (to discuss),” said Bain. “That support is there and will continue to be there from county council.”

Leamington Mayor John Paterson, whose municipality hosts the new Erie Shores campus, pointed out that many groups and charities from around the area helped fundraise for the new building. He said the new facility will give families with terminally ill loved ones a chance to “walk, ponder, grieve and clear their minds.”

Paterson reminded the public the Hospice is for all Essex County families.

“It’s not the Leamington Hospice, it’s the Erie Shores Hospice,” he said later in the evening at county council’s meeting. “It’s there for everyone.”

Gary Switzer, CEO of the Erie-St. Clair Local Integration Network (LHIN) praised the work of executive director Carol Derbyshire and credited her for her efforts locally.

Warden Tom Bain addresses the large crowd that gathered for the Erie Shores Hospice campus opening April 6.

Warden Tom Bain addresses the large crowd that gathered for the Erie Shores Hospice campus opening April 6.

“When you talk about Hospice in Ontario, you better mention Carol’s name in the same sentence,” he said.

Switzer also pointed out the campus was built thanks to contributions from the entire region.

“It’s a gift for the entire community by the entire community,” he said.

Hospices has learned “nothing is impossible if you have the right energy and the right team of people,” added Dr. Mary Broga, chair of Hospice’s board of directors.

One of the contributors to the capital campaign were five area Rotary Clubs – Amherstburg, Harrow, Essex, Cottam and Leamington. Rotary Club of Amherstburg president Lena Lazanja stated “it makes you feel good” to be involved with a project like the Erie Shores Hospice campus.

Local Rotary Clubs pledged $50,000 towards a room at the Erie Shores Hospice, with that being spread over five years. She believed the opening shows the connection between politicians and community members across the county.

“It’s beautiful to see this dream come to fruition,” said Lazanja.

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