Beautifully displayed in the front entrance at the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation is a tall paper Christmas tree, topped with a large gold star, strung with red and gold garlands, and surrounded by paper snowflakes. Each layer of evergreen branches has been mimicked by tracing grades two and four students' hands onto green paper, cutting them out and positioning them upside down.
"It was a lot of work to trace our hands, cut them out, curl the fingers, and put it together; and to make the snowflakes and presents for under the tree. Lots of us had to try a bunch of times before we got it right. But it was a lot of fun," said Maisie, a grade four student at Cove Cliff Elementary School.
Diane Ehling's grade four class partnered with their buddy grade two class to create the Christmas Caring Tree for the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation. As of November 28th, families across the North Shore have been receiving paper ornaments in the mail that, if returned with a donation, are then hung on the tree. It is the hospital foundation's annual holiday fundraising drive. This year, proceeds are going to support an expansion to the hospice.
"We're hoping to raise awareness for the Every Day Counts project and to give people an opportunity to contribute," said Jo-Ann Wood, Chair, North Shore Hospice and Palliative Project.
The Every Day Counts program is an outpatient program where people can access counselling, get supports to navigate the palliative care system, and attend health sessions such as yoga, relaxation and nutrition. It is a free program designed for patients facing serious illness and their families to realize the best quality of life. The North Shore Hospice and Palliative Project is hoping to raise $2 million to expand their building to include a permanent space for the outpatient program.
Cove Cliff Elementary School students were eager to get involved to support the hospice.
"I'm quite happy to be helping others," said Lilja, a grade four student.
"It's a special thing to do," added Maisie.
For more information about the Every Day Counts initiative, visit: http://www.northshorehospicepalliative.com/