Rochelle Smith

Happy Holidays

Posted by | News | No Comments

Another Christmas Holiday season is upon us and as we reflect over the past year, the Board of the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton County has so many reasons to be grateful. Grateful for the exceptional Palliative Care team, the doctors, the nurses, all the staff on An Cala and the home consult nurses, who deliver such professional, compassionate care to patients and their families. We are grateful for the energy and the goodwill of the many volunteers who help in so many different ways; grateful for the generosity of our community donors.

2016 has been a year of many successes including the expanding community interest and support in the quest to establish a hospice residence. Events and projects, both established and new, are highlighted in this newsletter and demonstrate the mission and work of the society in hospital and in home. We are grateful to Membertou Band Council and BCA Group for their unique collaborative model that is an exceptional community partnership and driving the hospice residence dream forward to reality.


Every New Year brings new opportunities. The Society is committed to the construction of the hospice residence in 2017. As a board, we will vigorously lobby the Nova Scotia Health Authority and Government for a formal announcement to provide operational costs. We will be launching a fund raising campaign “Strengthening Circles of Care” to meet financial goals that will furnish and equip the hospice residence, create a courtyard garden and establish an endowment fund to address future needs.

On behalf of the Society’s board we wish you and yours a Happy Holiday season and a
New Year of Peace and Happiness.

Patricia Jackson & Nancy Dingwall

Burger Week 2016

Posted by | News | No Comments

Burger Week 2016 was held from October 29 to November 5 this year, attracting more than 20 participating restaurants, who each generously donated all or a portion of the proceeds of each Burger Week burger sold to the Hospice Palliative Care Society.

“Burger Week is a great event that raises funds for and awareness of the Hospice Society, while at the same time supports small businesses in our community,” says Burger Week Chair, Becky Chisholm. “Burger Week gives people the opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal while supporting a good cause and is de nitely an event that people look forward to each year. I’m happy to say that Burger Week 2016 was a huge success, raising nearly $10,000 in support of Hospice Cape Breton.

A big thank you to all who support this event!”

Spreading the Christmas Spirit

Posted by | News | No Comments

The Christmas spirit is alive and well on the An Cala Unit at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. Volunteers Deana Pruski and Margie Kennedy, who volunteer weekly, spent an extra day this week baking additional tasty holiday treats for patients and families so that there would be extra goodies to last throughout the holiday season. Thanks to both of them for sharing their time and talent this holiday season.


Fortress Feast

Posted by | News | No Comments

Finding an opportunity to connect the past to the present is something Lester Marchand, Visitor Experience Manager at the Fortress of Louisbourg looks for in working with partners, to further enhance visitors’ experience. So in partnership with the Hospice Palliative Care Society, they hosted the first-ever Fortress Feast in September 2015. It was an interpretive and educational experience with a period meal and music, to raise funds for the Society. “Hospice Palliative Care was as important in the 18th century as it is today,” said Marchand. “Perhaps the means were different, but the process was the same.”

The 2nd annual Fortress Feast recently transpired on September 17, 2016. This year, there were 108 attendees that enjoyed the one-of-a-kind occassion in support of the Hospice Palliative Care Society. The Society would like to thank all who attended this memorable evening. A special thanks is also extended to this year’s event partners Parks Canada and the Fortress of Louisbourg Association. This event would not be possible without you!

The Women of Peace and Hope for Hospice

Posted by | News | No Comments

In 2009 founder Margaret Cusack began working with a small but incredibly dedicated group of women, known as The Women of Peace and Hope for Hospice. That year, the group organized its first Christmas Craft Fair in support of Hospice Palliative Care. They have faithfully continued hosting this special event in addition to holding craft-related fundraisers throughout the year. Their most recent donation of $6,000 brings the total of their generous contributions to $35,000 to support the work of the Hospice Palliative Care Society. The Society is indebted to them for their outstanding commitment to the patients and families of those in need of comfort, care and compassion at end-of-life.

One Step Closer

Posted by | News | No Comments

Thanks to the exceptional efforts by the Rotary Clubs of CBRM’s Sydney Ribfest 2016, the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton was the recipient of $70,000 donated by generous Cape Bretoners who “Gave a Little at the Gate” and the support of the four CBRM Rotary Clubs. Gate proceeds amounted to almost  $47,000 and the balance of $23,000 was contributed by the Rotary Clubs in addition to planning, staging and running Ribfest. This amount exceeds the total of $55,000 raised in 2015 for a combined total of $125,000 to be directed toward the planned Hospice Residence.

Sydney Ribfest 2016 offered and delivered something enjoyable for all ages. The 2016 theme of “more” – more food, more entertainment, and more children’s activities, was met with great enthusiasm by visitors to Open Hearth Park on July 15, 16 and 17. The new venue proved to be a great site allowing for expanded offerings and will be home to next year’s event as well. Ribbers cited Sydney Rotary Ribfest as one of the best east of Montreal and have decided to add a sixth Ribber to next year’s event.

The Society thanks all volunteers from Rotary as well as the more than 60 individuals who also volunteered to work the gate over three days. With community support such as that seen at Ribfest, the Hospice Residence will soon be a reality and not a dream. Thank you all!








A Successful Weekend for Sunflower Treasures

Posted by | News | No Comments

Sunflower Treasures, a pop-up shop, was a temporary store set up in support of the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton County. The shop opened its doors on April 29 and continued throughout the weekend until May 1, 2016. The shop sold pre-loved items that were generously donated by community members.

The idea for a pop-up shop originated to generate additional income that would support the work of the Society. In many communities nationally and internationally, a “Hospice Shop” is a permanent store that most often sells donated second hand goods of all kinds in support of Hospices and is a popular model around the world. The Hospice Shoppe, which is located in St John, New Brunswick, describes their shop as an “upscale resale experience”.

These existing Hospice Shops inspired a group of local volunteers to conduct preliminary research that would determine whether or not the concept would be advantageous to initiate in Cape Breton. Under the leadership of Cheryl Read, core committee members, Catherine Schaller, Frances Butler and Suzanne Merner looked into costs, locations, and population numbers. They also prepared a feasibility study and looked at other Hospice shops, developed questionnaires and talked with experienced hospice shop organizers to gather as much information as possible.

After analysis, discussion, and research, the committee then reached out to CBU marketing professor, Dr. Elaine MacNeil. She came on board and conducted a marketing study. MacNeil was the perfect fit for the task because she is a self-declared avid thrift shopper and knows the local market.

Through MacNeil’s findings, the group realized that the Hospice Society is not yet ready for a permanent shop. However, it was recommended they try an experimental “pop-up shop”. The committee then determined that they would follow through with this option and name it Sunflower Treasures.

The next step was to create a plan. The shop’s dates were strategic and were set to align with the arrival of a cruise ship, spring cleaning season, and National Hospice Week. Execution of the plan took a great deal of manpower and would not have been possible without the 72 volunteers who contributed in multiple ways and worked tirelessly before and during and after the chosen weekend.

The key to making the event successful was drawing upon on the expertise of community volunteers with relevant retail experience. For example, “stagers”, Jane MacDonald, a former manager of Yazer’s Men’s Wear, and her sister-in-law Anne Morrow, who displays great talent weekly with the Hospice “flower lady” program, staged all of the donated items to look organized and most importantly, desirable for purchase and easy to select. Other volunteers sorted, washed, prepped and priced the items, and the stagers presented everything in a variety of displays that made the shopping experience pleasant and easy.

Items donated to the shop included a wide range of pre-loved items such as purses, scarves, jewelry, collectibles, quilting fabrics, books, artwork, china and house hold items. One family donated 28 Hummel figurines. These German figurines have significant retail value and were worth a considerable sum of money. These treasures, along with so many others, were quickly purchased by eager shoppers over the three day period. By Sunday, the shop was almost completely sold out. Weekend best sellers included books, jewelry, and purses. Teacups were also a hot item with hundreds going to new homes!

The committee worked closely with members of the Hospice Society executive for several months to create an achievable plan. The time frame for work within the shop itself was 3 weeks to organize items, 3 days to establish the shop, and 3 hours to take everything down.

The community support experienced was nothing short of amazing. Many people who donated items also come back to shop. There was a mixed demographic of shoppers including knowledgeable thrift shoppers as well as those who are new to the thrift-shop scene. Age groups varied and everyone seemed to leave with at least one treasure.

The outcome of Sunflower Treasures, a pop-up shop, was one of great success. It raised awareness of the Society’s work and contributed slightly over $13,000 that will support patients and families who face life threatening illnesses within the Palliative Care Service, both at home community and on the An Cala Unit. There are typically 250 patients in the care of the Service at any given time and the needs are as unique as the patients themselves. The Society is most appreciative of all of the volunteers, donors, and shoppers who brought Sunflower Treasures to life and saw it thrive for all the right reasons.

Special thanks must be extended to the extraordinary group who investigated , explored options and created an incredibly successful event. Members included Chair, Cheryl Read, Suzanne Merner, Catherine Schaller, Frances Butler, Dale Orychock, Nancy Dingwall and Patricia Jackson.

Volunteer Perspective – Bruce Tizzard

Posted by | News | No Comments

Volunteering with Hospice has given me a purpose – a reason for being here. I came to Hospice late in my life, but had I known it was going to be so rewarding, I would have jumped at the opportunity long ago.

During the past year I have met some beautiful souls. Being told you have a limited time remaining on this earth is daunting, to say the least. Having to deal with this alone is unthinkable. As volunteers, we are here to listen. In my experience, I have found that a gentle touch and listening makes the patients comfortable. I want the patients to know and feel that they matter to me, because the only thing we really own is the love we give away and love is what a patient takes with them when they die. As volunteers, we connect with families as well. For them, this has to be the worst of times. Where do they go from here when all of a sudden their world as they know it comes tumbling down around them? I know very little about death, but I know that life must go on, and grief and sadness are part of the journey and it too, must be handled with care and love.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve others. Those who have the strength and the love to sit with a dying patient in the silence that goes beyond words, will know that this moment is neither frightening nor painful, but a peaceful cessation of the functioning of the body. It reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that ares up for a brief moment.


RibFest to return for summer of 2016

Posted by | Events | No Comments

Bigger and better is the promise when the second edition of Sydney RibFest returns this summer.

Details of the event hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Cape Breton Regional Municipality were released on Monday morning at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.

This year, the event will be held from July 15-17 at Open Hearth Park, after a successful launch in 2015 on the Sydney waterfront.

Five North American rib teams will return for the weekend — Silver Bullet, Camp 31, Billy Bones BBQ and Cabby’s BBQ Shack.

They’ll be joined by Texas Rangers, a team in competition since 2006.

Last year, an estimated 25,000 people took in RibFest in Sydney and organizers are hoping to top that number this year.

More to come.

Visit to view full article.