A Son's Story

Shawn Steele’s mother died in 2015. He explains how the continuum of care provided at Victoria Hospice comforted his mom and family and inspired them to give back.

My parents Cedric and Dorene Steele led a wonderful life together filled with equal measures of hard work (managing our family business, Prospect Lake Golf Course), volunteer community involvement and adventurous world travel. Through it all, mom always put her family and everyone else’s needs ahead of her own.

In the early 2000s, mom bravely fought two rounds of cancer. Sadly, her third bout came in 2014 and this time it was inoperable. Mom’s health deteriorated after the sudden death of my younger brother, Darren, in July 2015.

Not long after, my father and I learned about the palliative care services offered at Victoria Hospice. We toured the Inpatient Unit and on November 16, 2015, mom moved into Victoria Hospice.

When mom arrived she was immediately met with kindness. It was a genuinely caring environment. The doctors and nurses were always attentive to my mom’s needs and many generous volunteers offered a variety of services – mom readily accepted offers of foot massages!

In early December, with help from the Victoria Hospice team, we arranged for a school choir to sing to mom in her room. The choir then visited other patients’ rooms and returned later that month to sing joyful Christmas carols. This was a highlight for mom. Our family shared a great Christmas Day together – mom especially enjoyed watching her granddaughter Charlotte open presents in her room.

Three days later on December 28, mom passed away peacefully with her family by her side. That day we went to the rooftop garden and rang the Victoria Hospice Carillon Bell together. It was no surprise when more than 300 guests attended her celebration of life ceremony in January. Donations were made to Victoria Hospice in lieu of flowers.

My family and I received great care from the staff and volunteers when we visited Hospice and following mom’s death through their bereavement services. My father and I met with a grief counsellor on a few occasions and were given useful resources to help us through the acute grieving period. We appreciate that the organization’s caring extends to families and to members of the community.

I was surprised to learn that Victoria Hospice must raise over $3 million annually to keep their array of important services available for people and families in need. Victoria Hospice will continue to be one of our charities of choice for our family’s philanthropic giving and our family extends a big thank you to the donors for their generous support.

Quality palliative and end-of-life care for all: Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for those facing life-limiting illness, death and bereavement through patient and family centred care, education, research and advocacy.