Memorial Park Information by Diana Kleinloog
The Memorial Park in Sundre, initiated by a Sundre resident, is supported by the Sundre Palliative Care Association, plus the Town of Sundre, local businesses and many private donors.
The park location was historically owned by The Knott family, and was donated to the Town of Sundre about five decades ago, with the proviso that it not be used for residential housing. Most recently, the park area had been used to dump snow and debris from clearing the roads in town.
Work on the Park began in the spring of 2020. The town agreed that the land could be used for a Memorial Park. The first task was to remove the waste material on much of the park surface. A few poplars were also cleaned up and then the area was leveled for fresh fill and grass was seeded. A fence was erected, with gates for access, so local wildlife would not be able to enter the park. Trees were planted and Morton Burke, from Bergen, carved the central Memorial Stone which was placed on a concrete footing. At the same time, concrete pads were created for bench placements.
Future plans include, placing benches, planting more trees, and creating a walking labyrinth for meditation. The Memorial Park is situated off Centre Street N, and accessed by turning east onto 4 Ave NE and walking south on the laneway which connects 4 Ave NE to 3 Ave NE. The park is on the east side of the laneway and is easily visible.
Increased signage is planned. As well, the aim is to make the park wheelchair accessible.
We appreciate the support of the town of Sundre crews along with local businesses, including Tanas Concrete, Sledge Concrete, Bearberry Greenhouses, and RLB Roofing. Special appreciation and thanks go to Morton Burke for the carving of the central rock, and to Marty Butts for his energy and enthusiasm in making the area ready for the park.
In addition to funding from the Sundre Palliative Care Association, a major donation came from funds raised by the Second Annual Wade Konschuh Memorial Golf Tournament. We are grateful for the vision and passion for this project shown by our donors. Without them this park would never have become a reality. We look forward to continuing to develop the park next spring. It is now open to the public and visitors are welcome.
Donations for the purchase of a tree or bench in memory of a loved one, can be made to the Sundre Palliative Care Association. Tax receipts will be issued for all donations. Please see our website www.sundrepalliativecare.ca
There comes a time when all of us find ourselves confronted with grief. Grief comes in different forms and impacts each of us in a unique way. Some of us experience anticipatory grief. We have the opportunity to deal with an upcoming loss but aren’t sure how to manage what we are feeling. We may still be consumed in grief over the loss of a loved one.
The Sundre Palliative Care Association was pleased to welcome Rick Bergh to present a day long workshop on Grief. Rick has personal experience as well as years of listening and talking with those who are in the midst of their grief. He helped us to understand what we are experiencing and provided us with simple but effective tools to help manage it. Rick is a narrative speaker and uses stories to help give insight.
Another segment of the workshop was a presentation by Erica Phare-Bergh who works with the Voices in Motion choir. Her work is creating a place for those people with Alzheimer’s disease to express themselves through music by singing in her choir. We heard of the amazing power that music has for those who are unable to communicate in the way they used to.
The workshop was held on Monday, May 7 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Sundre Arts Centre. We had a group of 43 individuals who joined with us to learn about grief. There were tears and hugs while we thought of our own situations of grief. Rick was able to provide a place of understanding. We felt accepted with the grief we were experiencing. We learned why grief washes over us again and again. And most importantly, we were given simple sentences to say to others that will make grief possible to manage and even grow from. One participant who drove from Drayton Valley said, ‘I would have driven ten times as far to come to this workshop. It was fantastic’.
National Palliative Care Week is May 7-11 and we celebrate all that is happening in our community around conversations about end-of-life care, serious illness conversations, and the possibility of staying in the place you live in to die. The Sundre Palliative Care Association is committed to bringing information and support to the community to help understand and meet the process of preparing to live the rest of your life well when faced with impending death. We continue to ask for your suggestions about topics you would like us to present. Let us know and we will do our best to bring the information to you!
My blog entry
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, there was a support group called Reach to Recovery who came to my home right after my surgery. The two group members, who were breast cancer survivors themselves offered reading materials, emotional support and great advice for my recovery. This large group met monthly and the meetings offered information, fellowship, fun, and were an enormous support. There was also a smaller group who trained and competed in dragon boat races. My diagnosis of lung cancer heralded awesome support from family and friends but there was no large group of survivors with advice and a glimpse of hope for my recovery.
In November of 1988, at the age of 57, my Dad was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common type of non-small cell cancer and the type generally found in current and former smokers. Dad smoked from an early age, as well as working with hazordous materials and chemicals. He grew up in a time when safety wasn’t a priority and cigarette manufacturers could add basically whatever they wanted to tobacco in order to make it more addictive and ensure themselves a steady customer base. He had some symptoms but had a smokers cough and CMT (Charcot Marie Tooth disease, a genetic disorder which appears as young as two years of age in affected individuals and destroys the myelin, the protective covering on peripheral nerves. This leads to progressive pain, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, and malformation of bones) CMT which is painful in childhood and grows worse as the disease advances, also taught us to toughen up and accept pain as a matter of course. Dad, who likely ignored any red flags that cropped up was diagnosed just before Christmas and as we gathered for the holiday his mood was determinedly hopeful that he could overcome his diagnosis. . Six weeks later on Valentines day, we believe the cancer attacked his brain so he was admitted to the hospital where his essential personality never fully returned to us. After a period of agonizing decline, he finally passed on June 8 of 1989.
In December of 2015, at the age of 56, my sister Janet was diagnosed with stage 4 adenocarcinoma, the most common type of non–small cell lung cancer. While adenocarcinoma is usually found in people who smoke or used to smoke, it is the most common type found in people who never smoked and is more often found in women and younger people. Janet went to the hospital a couple of times with nose bleeds that would only stop with the use of a device called a Rapid Rhino. When she started to have double vision, the emergency room Dr ordered a CT scan which revealed tumours throughout her brain and skeleton. Janet had a malevolent pea size tumour that resided in an inoperable area of her lungs and shot cancer cells throughout her skeleton. Hindsight told us there were hints of a serious problem but she had learned from childhood to tough out increasing back pain and fatigue because it was just CMT advancing. We took Janet to my home for Christmas but just before New Years eve, we needed to take her to a nearby hospital because she had a massive nosebleed. The following day she was admitted to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre where Drs ordered three courses of radiation to make her more comfortable. While they helped Janet, they also took a huge toll on her brain and robbed us of the incredible person she was. She suffered an agonizing decline as well and finally passed on March 12 at the age of 57.
In December, 2017 at the age of 59, I was diagnosed with stage 4 adenocarcinoma of the lung. A rotator cuff injury involving a large tear in my bicep was giving me trouble and I started to have problems with my right hip and leg that felt similar so I ignored them as I was very busy getting pots ready for Christmas sales. My leg worsened through October, November and December, requiring use of a cane then a wheelchair and incrementally stronger pain killers. My Dr took a bone scan which wasn’t conclusive for a problem with my leg so he ordered a CTScan on December 22 and when he received the results, he sent me straight over to the emergency department of a nearby hospital. For the last several months I had been walking on a deteriorating fracture of my femur that was due to a large tumour on the femur. The tests also revealed tumours covering my sacrum and tailbone, a couple of vertebrae and small lesions on my lungs. I got a pass to go home for Christmas and when I returned to the hospital a large titanium rod was placed in my femur with bolts at my knee and hip to secure it. The only ‘canary in the mine’ I had was my painful leg which turned out to be an early warning to a huge problem and has given me time to try some new treatments, do a few things I’ve always wanted to do and maybe say goodbye. My prognosis is 12 months and of course my goal is to beat that, in fact I’ve realized I really want to be 75.
An earlier warning has given me time in which I feel whole and healthy, allowing me to have a real sense of hope that I will beat my prognosis. I feel very fortunate because there is no early screening as yet for lung cancer so it is generally diagnosed in late stages where there is no possibility for treatment. My Dad and my sister didn’t get this opportunity as their story is very typical of the majority of people with lung cancer. Because there are generally few symptoms from the tumour in the lung, people are unaware there is a problem until it has metastasized and as soon as it has, the cancer cannot be cleared. The outcome is generally dismal and more people die from lung cancer than die from breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers combined. In looking for data I discovered that 1 in 12 Canadians will develop lung cancer in their lifetime which is more than any other cancer. In my original family we are 1 in 2 so far so early screening of lung cancer for my family would be a major benefit.
The stigma I referred to in the heading comes from a perception of lung cancer as a self-inflicted disease but half of those diagnosed are comprised of 15% who have never smoked and 35% who are former smokers. I’ve read that lung cancer patients and their families feel stigmatized by a prejudice around smoking, leaving them hesitant to tell others about their diagnosis. Admittedly, there is no doubt that smoking does cause cancer but generally smokers start when they are teens who feel invulnerable and are not looking at the future consequences of smoking. The manufacturers of cigarettes have formulated their product to be extremely addictive and contain over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing compounds and 400 other toxins. These cigarette ingredients include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT. Tobacco companies know that it doesn’t take too many cigarettes for their target market to become addicted and they market their product aggressively.
I have to confess that my first thought on being told I had lung cancer was that it couldn’t be – I had quit smoking 35 years before. Janet had never smoked though and we both had adenocarcinoma. Smoking isn’t the only way to negatively impact health but of the many disorders impacted by lifestyle none of the others suffer from the same level of inattention from the public and media. There are few survivors of lung cancer, therefore no large group of dedicated survivors to draw public attention to the relevant issues, raise funds, and bring about real change in researching this disease and change in the tobacco industry.
Having written this, I wanted to reflect a bit and do more research into work being done around early screening for lung cancer. The Government of Alberta was running an early screening program for lung cancer but my understanding is that it was capped at 800 participants when the new NDP party was elected. The program is still running but no further participants will be accepted. I wonder how much it costs our health care system to care for just one stage 4 lung cancer patient, against the cost of treating one stage 1 patient.
I also wonder about the stigma surrounding lung cancer as a self inflicted disease when as I said earlier, not everyone with lung cancer is a former or current smoker. There are other diseases that have been proven to be lifestyle related but blame and ennui are not cast on them to the same degree as cast on lung cancer. If anyone should be held responsible for this I believe it should be the companies who raked in profits by slowly poisoning so many people. If a percentage of their profits could be channeled to research into the treatment of lung cancer we'd save a great deal of money in healthcare and human suffering. Dying of lung cancer isn't something I'd wish on anyone and finding a cure to prevent that deserves as much attention as finding cures for any other deadly disease.
Article for the Newspaper - Sundre Palliative Care Association
The Sundre Palliative Care Association wishes to extend a big thank you to the community of Sundre for the successful fund raising events we held at the end of 2017. This community is made up of people who help each other and share the journey with those going through grief. We had conversations with many people at the farmers markets in and around Sundre in November. Our Tree of Hope campaign was an overwhelming success and we had the memory of hearing our loved ones names called out at the Tree Lighting ceremony on Dec. 1. Jo-Anne McDonald heads our Tree of Hope campaign and she made a beautiful presentation of the names along with some lovely choir singing from our Sundre Community Choir.
Our 2017 Candlelight Remembrance Service was held at the new Sundre Seniors Supportive Living Building. We held our service in the Bistro area of the Lodge. It was wonderful to see the people ‘walk’ to our service from their homes in the building. The service was open to the public and we were happy to welcome those from the community who could attend! It is always a meaningful service, with thoughtful words spoken and memories shared.
We are looking forward to carrying out more outreach into the community in 2018. After a quiet interlude at the beginning of the new year, we held our second Palliative Partnership Meeting on January 29, 2018. We could only get a small number of partners attending on a busy Monday afternoon, but we had some great discussion. We want to share with the community our new website for the Sundre Palliative Care Association which is www.sundrepalliativecare.ca. We will update it often with new information. Thanks to Deana McNeish, we have also created a Facebook page which can be found by searching for Sundre Palliative Care Association. We will be posting information for upcoming events on both of these sites. We will also be advertising upcoming events in Sundre-On-The-Go, Sundre RoundUp and the radio for example, for greater distribution.
Projects we are planning include partnering with the Town of Sundre to plan a Memorial Garden. We will also be starting to hold evening education/information sessions for the general public. We would like to present information that would be helpful to the community. Stay tuned for sessions beginning in March 2018. We hope to see you at some of these evenings. There will be a range of topics designed to inform and support. We are open to suggestions and want you to know we are listening. Let us know what you would like to hear about. No topic is too small!
“The most frightening journey can be made more bearable when surrounded by the arms of compassion”.
Article for newspaper on palliative care association strategic planning meeting
At the beginning of October, the Sundre Palliative Care Association hosted the first meeting with many of the stakeholders who participate in palliative care in Sundre. We wanted to have all the invested parties in the same room to facilitate a meaningful conversation. Among those groups in attendance were people from the medical clinics, pharmacies, Greenwood Neighbourhood Place, social work, mental health, spiritual, Primary Care Network, the Sundre Hospital and Care Centre and our own Palliative Care Resource Nurse. Conflicting schedules prevented others from attending; we hope they and others will join us for the next meeting.
Our aim was first and foremost to acquaint ourselves with each of the partners who provide important needs for the palliative patient and their families. It was enlightening to hear what service everyone provides. Many of us learned things about the other stakeholders that we didn’t know before. We had a greater appreciation to all for the services they provide and the passion they have for the palliative community. We came away truly inspired for the amazing possibilities for the palliative patient.
Our main goal was to provoke conversation, open the dialog for ways to improve how we serve the palliative community, and to set goals to strive for. We came away with a unanimous consensus to improving the overall communication between each of the entities in Sundre who are experts in their area. The Sundre Palliative Care Association understands that a central web site that all people in the community can access would be of great benefit to all caregivers, patients and their families. To that end, we are hoping to have a web site up and running in the very near future. Stay tuned for details.
We renewed our pledge to providing funding for palliative education for staff in Sundre. It is paramount to us that we support the education and knowledge building of our physicians, nurses and other staff members.
Another goal we have is to fund palliative equipment for the patient who is palliating at home. Our aim is to contribute to any equipment needed to help the patient stay at home if that is what they wish.
Our wish is to continue the excellent conversation we started and keep our goals in sight. As culture of palliative care providers, we want to be approachable to each other and to all those in the community who would like to get information or services from us. We intend on holding another meeting early in the new year which will keep the momentum of conversation going forward.
“The desire is for all persons with a life limiting illness to have the hope of caring and comfort, and the means to spend their remaining life in the best way possible, wherever that may be”.
Diana Kleinloog has worked as an RN in rural health care