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Little extras make a big difference

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It seems the older I get the more I grace the halls of Riverview Health Centre.


A friend struggling with cancer, a parent in long-term care — it is quite likely that each and every one of us will be called upon to offer or receive support to or from a loved one.


Life is like that. Unfortunately none of us are immune. We all start off on the same path, veer off in our own direction but come full circle in the end.


When my father-in-law came full circle and needed further support, our family was fortunate that Riverview had a place for him in its palliative care unit.


The staff was compassionate and accommodating to both him and the family and my father-in-law seemed comfortable — almost at peace with his inevitable journey ahead.


It made me appreciate how important it is to have a place that knows not only how to relieve suffering but how to support the family so that they can offer strength to their loved one and carry on after.


Riverview is such a place and has certainly gone the extra mile to ensure that its patients and their families are well taken care of.


When I first entered my father-in-law’s room I was especially surprised to find a full-sized cable television and VCR.  This simple extravagance made such a difference and was provided to him at no charge courtesy of the Riverview Health Centre Foundation and the generosity of its donors.


Through various fundraising activities, the foundation and its supporters directly impact the quality of life for the centre’s patients and residents.


This spring, the foundation will host its 14th annual Cycle on Life event. Each year the foundation focuses the fundraising efforts on a specific cause. According to executive director Sheldon Mindell, this year’s efforts will be "directed towards palliative care refurbishments."


In addition to new floors, drapes, lighting, wall coverings and washrooms, patients will also enjoy Wi-Fi and Skype connectivity, new flat screen TVs, desks and chairs. Plans are also underway to redo the family centre after the 30 palliative care rooms are completed.


Mindell stated that last year’s event garnered more than 100 participants and realized a long standing goal of raising more than $1 million since its inception.  


The event is scheduled to take place Sun., June 3 and will offer its participants the choice of a leisurely ride through Riverview, or for the more adventurous, an 80-kilometre ride sponsored by St. Mary Cycle & Ski.


The palliative care unit at Riverview is well-known for its exceptional care and pleasant surroundings. What is not as well-known is that it is our participation and generosity at fundraising events such as the Cycle on Life event, and not our tax dollars, which enable this health centre to provide the extras that make all the difference when it counts the most.


For more information, visit http://www.rhcf.mb.ca/ or call (204) 478-6271.
Christine MacKinnon is a Riverview-based writer.


Neighbourhood Forum is a readers’ column. If you live in the Sou’wester area and would like to contribute to this column, contact jim.timlick@canstarnews.com.

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