Here in Fernie, Hospice began as a passion of a group of local women around 2002. They knew patients and friends and neighbours who were experiencing great pain and who wanted to be at home with loved ones as they neared the end of their lives, but were isolated in unfamiliar surroundings. The challenge of bringing such a concept to a small community must have seemed particularly daunting, but the women’s passionate desire to help inspired them to persevere. The small entity had limited finances, but was rich with a most essential resource – hearts filled with compassion for patients and neighbours in need.
Carol Holder, Pat Moore, Sheri Sopko and Jackie Geddes went to Victoria Hospice to learn about the movement and bring it to Fernie. To give credit where credit is due, Carol Rollick actually was the one with the original dream of bringing Hospice to the Elk Valley, but it was those four who made it happen. And they had the support too, from Reverend Inglis’ wife, Bonnie who became the educator in the community.
Over the years, as the pioneers were able to educate a team of volunteers and the community and spread positive information regarding the benefits of hospice care, the organization grew.
Since then, Hospice has grown to a group of over 30 dedicated volunteers who sit with patients, help out at the kiosk, teach the course, and help out at events. Funds have been raised, vital resources added, and a staff member was hired. A dedicated hospice room was equipped and created at the Elk Valley Hospital and dozens of patients and their families were able to receive the compassionate, quality care they deserved – care provided by dedicated trained volunteers, working closely with the professional hospital staff.