After years of of campaigning, the Langley Hospice Society is finally having its wish granted.
A new 15-bed stand-alone hospice residence will be opening in 2019.
Langley MLA Mary Polak made the announcement during a press conference on Friday morning.
The B.C. government will provide a $5 million grant towards the capital costs of the hospice, including $3 million through the Investment in Housing Innovation initiative and $2 million from Fraser Health.
Construction will begin this summer at the new location, 219A Street and 52 Avenue, and once open, the new hospice will replace the current 10-bed facility on the Langley Memorial Hospital grounds.
“All of us have had the experience of loss of someone that we love and we know how we want to give them the best at the end of their life,” said Polak.
“The Langley Hospice Society, of course, has been doing that for a long time — providing emotional, practical and spiritual support for patients and their families for well over 30 years — and the society continues to have a super important role in our community, even beyond the day-to-day services that they provide.”
This has been a long time coming for the society members, who have been working towards a stand-alone hospice for the last three decades.
Founding board member Jeannine McCarthy and longtime advocate Dorscie Paterson — who is now 104 years old — both expressed their gratitude following the announcement.
“It’s been our dream since the 1980s. And it started with the help of a lot of community people. The first office was on my kitchen table because we didn’t have any money,” McCarthy told the Times.
“It’s unbelievable. It was such a dream. It’s hard to express.”
McCarthy recalls a pivotal conversation she had with Denis Boyd, a volunteer trainer in the early ’80s, who encouraged her to begin canvassing for donations.
“I talked to him and I said, ‘You know how can we have a hospice facility in Langley? And he said, ‘Just do it.’
“And I said, ‘But we have no money.’
“He said, ‘Jeannine, just do it, the money will come.’ And our first donation was $50 from the Langley Kinettes.”
“(This announcement) means that the ideas and dreams that we had are really going to be coming all up,” Paterson added.
“And the main thing that we want to remember is, when it comes, do it now. Don’t wait, do it now. When you have an idea, you do it now.”
The new hospice will have a home-like atmosphere, with private rooms that open to outdoor green spaces. There will be specialized palliative symptom management offered, and a staff including a spiritual health practitioner, palliative clinical pharmacist and a clinical nurse specialist.
“While the interim hospice has served our community well, there are many challenge with the slim space and building age in providing the level of hospice care we would like to,” said Robert Carpenter (pictured above), board vice president of the Langley Hospice Society.
“As previously mentioned, it has always been a long dream of our board staff and volunteers to build a freestanding hospice for Langley and we have never lost sight of working towards this goal. Therefore, today truly marks another significant milestone for all those involved in providing hospice and health care in our community.”