About the Award
Each year the Board of Directors of Hospice of Waterloo Region recognizes an organization or individual for unique contributions to hospice palliative care. Special emphasis is given to acknowledge those who contribute in exceptional and innovative ways that are not part of their normal activities or mandate. The 2017 Community Award will be presented to CCMH Cambridge at Hospice of Waterloo Region’s annual Volunteer Recognition Evening and Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, June 21st.
CCMH has developed a wonderful partnership with Hospice of Waterloo Region over the past two years. We spoke with Anna Baker of CCMH Cambridge to discuss the program that led to this humbling recognition, how our students are involved, and the impact of this work on their education and lives.
How are CCMH students involved in the program that serves the Hospice of Waterloo Region?
Hospice of Waterloo Region is a community hospice program that is dedicated to providing comfort, care and support to individuals and their families affected by life-threatening illness. CCMH began our relationship with Hospice of Waterloo Region in November 2015 and it has quickly grown into a wonderful community massage outreach with the goal to create comfort, ease pain, and improve quality of life. Our students are there every Tuesday providing massages to the patients, caregivers and those in bereavement. Together with the Hospice of Waterloo Region we have been able to create this fantastic program giving students the opportunity to be a healing presence and provide a moment of relaxation and comfort through caring touch.
That sounds incredibly fulfilling for your students, but also quite emotional. It must be very moving to provide comfort and connect with people in so much pain. How do you think this outreach impacts CCMH students?
We know the students often feel a bit nervous about what to expect going into such a delicate environment and the emotions that they will experience. They walk out feeling not only empathy but humbled at the experience of life. We think that the impact of this outreach on the students is profound and they find it rewarding and enriching both personally and educationally. As one of our current Term 4 students wrote:
“One year down and four months to go. It has been a roller coaster of stress, excitement, meltdowns and aha moments and I have learned more anatomy, science and medical terminology than I thought possible. The best part though has been a surprise. Volunteering in the community at seniors homes, hospices and with other organizations has given me the opportunity to meet beautiful, inspiring people who have made me realize fully that life is not about what we own but about our interactions with each other and that when you give of yourself you quite often receive more in return.”
– Lynn Skirrow
Wow, what a beautiful and deep sentiment about her experience in the program! It must be very rewarding to administer the program as well. What was your reaction when you heard about the award?
We were absolutely thrilled at the news. Not only that we were nominated, but that we were chosen as the recipient. As we mentioned previously, the staff and volunteers at the Hospice of Waterloo Region are really exceptional and it is a great honor to receive this award for the college and the students. The students work really hard and it’s great to see their services recognized in the community and to have them so involved.
The award sounds well earned, congratulations! Thank you for speaking with us, Anna. We hope the program continues to thrive.
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