Hospice and Palliative Care Manitoba (HPCM) has scored a big name guest speaker for their 18th annual Celebrate Life fundraising luncheon, happening Fri., April 12 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
Jim Ludlow, CEO of True North Sports and Entertainment, will talk about his late wife, Theresa Comeau-Ludlow, who died from breast cancer last May.
"We approached him. He’s just a very gentle person, he’s a gentle soul," said HPCM communications co-ordinator Joan Lawless, who called the luncheon their biggest yearly fundraiser.
"She was in the palliative care in Riverview Health Centre," Lawless said of Theresa, "we do have trained volunteers we put in there."
Ludlow said it will be the first time he’s spoken about Theresa’s death publically. He says she would want her story shared so that people facing death might take some courage and know that, with help, they and their families can steer their way through.
"That’s just important for people to see that you can live with it, you can manage your way through diseases that are all typically very debilitating and ultimately life-ending."
HPCM volunteers became very valued to his family, Ludlow said, as they managed through the last stages of Theresa’s illness.
He recalls three weeks before her death they had what he calls a "pretty special time."
"We’d lived together for some time, but as the world unfolded around us we were married in the palliative care ward of Riverview Hospital… the folks from Riverview did a wonderful job of accommodating what was obviously a very unique situation."
Lawless said HPCM, which is based at Deer Lodge Centre, trains volunteers for hospices and personal care homes and will match a volunteer with people facing life-threatening illnesses, as well as with those grieving.
"We do a lot of bereavement work…we do kids grief too, because kids are often the forgotten grievers."
"We do not charge for any of our services at all, everything is free," Lawless said, adding that the bulk of their support comes from fundraising.
The April 12 luncheon starts with a reception at 11:30 a.m., followed by a noon lunch and raffle. Tickets are $65 per person, or tables can be sponsored for $600 and up.
Lawless said they expect about 400 people to attend. Tickets have been going fast, she said, but nobody will be disappointed by a sellout.
"We always allow for extras," she said.
"We’ll take anyone who wants to walk through our doors, as long as they pay for a ticket."
For tickets call HPCM at 204-889-8525 or find an order form online at