Honorary Lifetime Memberships awarded

Victoria Hospice Society is pleased to recognize three exceptional volunteers with Honorary Lifetime Membership Awards. Kathie Doerksen, Dawn Mahara, and Denise Sturmwind were honoured at the Victoria Hospice Society Annual General Meeting Oct 5, 2023.

Kathie Doerksen joined Victoria Hospice in 2007 as one of the founding members of the Bedside Singers Program, a specially trained group of volunteers who provide comfort at the bedside by singing a cappella. Since then, countless patients and families have benefited from Kathie’s gentle presence and soothing voice.

A volunteer who shows great commitment and dedication, Kathie generously gave her time and knowledge to help relaunch the Bedside Singers program this past spring following the pandemic pause. She has served as a champion, a mentor, and cherished member of this special group of volunteers. Kathie’s heartfelt care through bedside singing is a shining example of why community involvement is so important to Victoria Hospice’s end of life care. We are grateful for Kathie’s outstanding service of more than 700 hours!

Dawn Mahara has provided more than 2,000 hours of volunteer service to Victoria Hospice over 20 years. She volunteered on the Inpatient Unit from 2002 to 2015, and since then provides administrative support to the organization. One project of note includes Dawn’s weekly task of compiling the important “Palliative Care in the Home” binders, which has been an invaluable resource of information and an integral component of quality hospice care for every palliative patient in the community. Dawn has also long supported our Fund Development team with mailings to valued donors.

Dawn has a heart for hospice and no task is too big or small as she cheerily addresses each assignment. Our gratitude and thanks go to Dawn being a dedicated versatile member of our team!

Denise Sturmwind joined Victoria Hospice as an administrative volunteer in 2012 and was a deeply valued member of the Bereavement Services volunteer team since 2018. Denise died in September 2023, and we join with her family and friends to grieve the loss of such an exceptional and compassionate person.

Denise was known for her comforting and gentle presence, and expressed compassion and care through skilled listening and a willingness to bear witness to others’ experience of emotional pain. She was motivated to serve as a bereavement volunteer after receiving support from hospice after the loss of her parents.

She worked closely with one of our bereavement counsellors during the period of greatest pandemic restrictions.  Her regular supportive phone contact with an isolated senior was a crucial element of the care plan for the family, and allowed the bereavement team to extend their service at a challenging time.

We are grateful for the many ways Denise impacted people’s lives through her volunteer service at Victoria Hospice.  Read more about Denise here.