Wings of Remembrance

Published on August 21, 2017

It was a day of poignancy as Carefor Health and Community Services hosted its second annual Wings of Remembrance Butterfly Release Sunday.

During a ceremony at the Mackay Centre in Pembroke, 250 butterflies were released in honour of loved ones by family and friends. The event was part of Carefor’s Community Volunteer Visiting Program which began operations at the former Marguerite Centre last year.

The program aims to support clients wishing to remain in their home for a longer period of time and to provide respite support for caregivers. Community support services manager Alice Grenon put this special ceremony in perspective noting that since April 1, volunteers have conducted 133 visits to 57 clients over 270 hours. The previous year they supported 72 clients over more than 1,000 hours of service.

The ceremony then got underway with Carefor palliative volunteers releasing 49 butterflies in memory of the clients they served from April 1, 2016 to July 31, 2017. Carefor director of operations Sharon Maye said that in this era of financial restraint and governments challenging health providers to look at the services they have, Carefor's community hospice palliative program highlights what intervention can look like in health care, especially in an underserviced, rural region.

“It challenges us to rethink the meaning of hospice and palliative care,” said Maye. “Those once meant institutionalize end-of-life care.”

Today, hospice has extended to enhanced care in retirement homes and day programs, while palliative is largely viewed as improving quality of life during the continuum of a life-limiting illness, she noted.

Maye explained that their palliative volunteers go beyond being the eyes and ears for the client. They provide round-the-clock volunteer support, such as assistance with feeding, snow ploughing, or taking someone to lunch.

“They relieve suffering and improve quality of life for individuals and families trying to cope with a life-limiting illness,” added Maye. “It are the small things that become the big things.”

Volunteers provide service to clients living in their private home, retirement home, hospital, hospice or long-term care facility. Carefor Pembroke – Renfrew County offers visiting volunteer services, a family resource centre, bereavement resources, transportation, frozen meals services and information and referral for individuals and families coping with progressive life-limiting illness. Carefor Health and Community Services Pembroke – Renfrew County, is a not-for-profit organization that provides services for people of all ages and stages of life.

During the afternoon, Gillian Rutz performed while the Renfrew County 4H Rabbit Club entertained with the four-legged creatures negotiating a bunny obstacle course. There was also a bouncy castle, face painting, balloon animals and lemonade stand. The Pembroke Professional Firefighters' Association was on hand with their aerial truck.

In addition to their volunteers and staff, Carefor organizers also thanked event supporters including Malcolm, Deavitt and Binhammer Funeral Home, Murphy Funeral Home and Chapel, Neville Funeral Home, Sunset Nursery, Greater Petawawa Civitan Club, McDougall Insurance, Midas Muffler Pembroke, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 72, the Town of Arnprior and the Township of McNab/Braeside.

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