Backed by overwhelming community response, a committee of volunteers, loosely associated with the Dundas County Hospice, is bringing world renowned speaker on topics relating to the care of the dying, Maggie Callanan to Winchester for a one-day workshop on Saturday, September 24.
“No one likes to talk about death and dying,” says Jan Clapp of Winchester who is co-chairing the Hospice Day Committee with Linda Johnston, an Oncology Nurse at Winchester Hospital. “This workshop is to increase comfort and awareness and is geared to people (in addition to professional caregivers) who perhaps have a loved one who is dying.”
Maggie Callanan, who is located on the American east coast, became a hospice nurse in 1981. She has since studied, taught and written about death and dying. She delivers practical no-nonsense answers to difficult questions tempered by humour, wisdom and compassion.
She has authored two books: Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness Needs and Communication of the Dying and Final Journeys: A Practical Guide to Care and Comfort at the End of Life.
The campaign to bring Callanan to Winchester began after Clapp’s Book Club read Final Gifts.
“I’ve been in Palliative Care for a longtime,” says Clapp who is the facilitator for the Dundas County Hospice Course. “It’s absolutely the best book I’ve ever read.”
After reading the book Clapp noticed a contact on the back cover. She e-mailed the website not expecting anything to come of it, but less than two hours later she was contacted by Callanan by telephone.
“We are of the same vintage, and we connected well.”
When Callanan said she would be interested in coming to this area to speak, Clapp says she was excited about the possibility, but a little hesitant due to the cost of bringing her here.
The cost was too much for the Dundas Hospice to commit to and as a result a committee was formed with Clapp and Johnston as the co-chairs. Nellie Leightizer and Betty Guy came on board as representatives of Hospice, and Winchester United Church Minister Christine Lowson, Joanne Notman, Michel Renaud (an oncolocy nurse) and Bea Warren all stepped up.
“Diane Crummy and Doris Baker are our food folks,” says Clapp. “They contacted 16 area churches for help, and all but one, which had another commitment, are helping us with our lunches. That’s a wonderful statement of our community.”
“The whole thing is just meant to be. The spirit in this community is just so special. We have good people here.”
In addition to the committee volunteers, both North and South Dundas councils have committed $400 to the workshop, Annette Angus has donated accommodations at her bed and breakfast Terrace Green at Winchester and Gib Patterson at Cloverdale Links has donated air miles.
Clapp stresses the event is not a fund raiser. “Our first goal is education and awareness. It’s not set up as a fund raiser, but if there is extra money we will donate it to Dundas County Hospice.”
The workshop based on the novel, Final Gifts, will provide a wonderful opportunity to all those who provide palliative care in a professional capacity and especially to the public in general.
To be able to make a donation the committee is hoping to sell out at 200 participants at $25 per person.
The workshop will be based on Callanan’s novel Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness Needs and Communication of the Dying. It will take place at the Winchester Community Centre on Saturday, September 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Registration can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org and should be made as promptly as possible as spaces are limited.