Hospice — like the end of life that it signifies — is a subject many tend to avoid for obvious reasons.
Wendy Marlow hopes that will change in Kamloops with the circulation of a new video by Mastermind Studios. The five-minute production, launched at a screening Thursday at Sun Rivers, is designed to open hearts and minds to the role played within the community by Marjorie Willoughby Snowden Memorial Hospice Home.
When she became hospice executive director four years ago, she made it one of her pet projects to have the video reach out to the broader community, beyond the community that enables hospice to function.
Where is the hospice house?, people would ask.
“I even get, ‘What is a hospice?’ So that told mere have a lot of work to do,” Marlow said. “All of us are going to face this, not just a select group of people.”
The hospice home in Sahali, completed in 2007, is not for palliative care, she pointed out. Hospice is for people living out the last days of their lives, who usually reside there their final two weeks, comforted by the tranquil setting, picturesque views of Peterson Creek and a circle of volunteers who provide support services, from baking to gardening to reception. It couldn’t operate without the community, Marlow said.
She related one story of a dying man who loved cars and wanted to check off one more item on his bucket list — to hear the sound of a Ferrari engine revving up. Calls went out and one was found nearby. Keith Anderson, a former Kamloops Daily News photographer, owns one and brought it by to grant the man’s request.
Mastermind’s Peter Cameron-Inglis said he’s had his own health challenges, which sparked his interest in the project. He also knew Marjorie Willoughby Snowden, a founding member of the Kamloops Hospice Association in 1981. Snowden was killed in a car accident 20 years ago.
“Someone very near and dear to our hearts was Marjorie Willoughby Snowden,” said Cameron-Inglis. “Hospice was very near and dear to her heart, so I’ve always wanted to so something with hospice.”
Like a lot of people, though, he stayed away from the home. The video gave him an opportunity to get better acquainted.
“We’re pleased to share it; it’s really important,” he added.
“It normalizes the end of life,” said Marlow, who noted that the association provides services beyond supported dying, including grief and bereavement counselling, and a charity thrift store at Brock Mall called Flutter Buys.
The symbol of a butterfly — a creature that takes on new life — plays prominently in the video.
"Please do share it, it's really important."