An annual campaign to raise funds supporting hospice programs and services got underway Dec. 1 at Semiahmoo Shopping Centre (1701 152 St.).
Peace Arch Hospice Society’s Celebrate a Life event – started more than 30 years ago – aims to help those who have lost a loved one honour their memory during the holiday season.
Anyone interested may stop by the display during mall hours through Dec. 23, write their loved one’s name on a paper dove and hang the dove on the Celebrate a Life tree. Volunteers will be on hand to help or share information if needed, and those who donate $20 or more will receive a hand-painted wooden or clay dove as a keepsake.
Hospice society founder Teresa Hotell has been involved with the event since it began, and hung the first dove at this year’s Dec. 1 opening. She said some people have made Celebrate a Life a part of their own holiday traditions.
“One Christmas I met a woman who was the daughter of a client that I helped, and she recognized me, can you believe it? Her mom was no longer able to come, so she was carrying on the tradition,” Hotell said in a news release.
Executive director Amanda McNally noted that the pandemic has made what can already be a difficult time of year even more challenging for those who are grieving. Last year, COVID-19 restrictions forced cancellation of two of the society’s key fundraisers, however, Celebrate a Life remained a staple.
“With restrictions on gatherings, it has prevented families from being able to hold memorials for their loved ones, and with many people living and grieving in isolation, the past two years have been exceptionally hard,” she said.
The hospice society, she said, is “here for you when you need us.”
Programs provided through the society support those who are facing terminal illness or bereavement. Offered at no cost, they are funded by community donations and fundraising events.
Another hospice fundraiser currently underway this year is the Hospice Hoedown 50/50. Held in place of the 2021 in-person Hospice Hoedown – cancelled for the second year due to COVID-19 – only 4,000 tickets are being sold.
Winner of the draw will take half the pot, which, as of Friday (Dec. 3), was at $1,240.
The deadline to buy tickets is noon on Dec. 15.
For more information on either event, call 604-531-7484 or visit peacearchhospice.org