Some people and experiences are like stones being thrown into a calm lake, they ripple through us, reaching out and leaving us changed. It was like that for me when at 21 I lost a childhood friend to cancer. Witnessing him through treatments, rehab, and end-of-life had an enormous and far-reaching impact on my life.
In 2011, informed by that earlier experience, I co-founded a registered non-profit called the Shared Hope Society. Our mission was to enhance hope and dignity for those affected by cancer by providing non-medical expense and education funding.
In seven years, we fulfilled our mission by donating gifts, money and gift cards to 16 recipients including a university student with melanoma, children with cancer and families that had lost a parent.
We raised funds through events that focused on dance and music, a pasta night, monthly hikes and the 27 km Moving Mountains hike. Recipients came to us by word-of-mouth and a network of new friends was formed including people currently going through treatments and those grieving losses.
Through the Shared Hope Society, I met Mallory, a young woman with three small children. We became instant friends. When I was hired at Victoria Hospice, Mallory congratulated me with encouraging words. A few months later she contacted me to find out more about what we do there. You see, Mallory had terminal stomach cancer.
Last year, Mallory became a patient at Victoria Hospice and I watched how the staff genuinely cared for her. They worked to control her symptoms so she could go on passes home, including her last Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with her children and husband. All the staff and volunteers delivered such caring support to her, to her family, to her friends, and to me.
I am incredibly grateful for the compassion that was shown to my beautiful friend Mallory and to her circle of loved ones. That’s why, when we recently decided to shut down the Shared Hope Society, we chose to donate our remaining funds to Victoria Hospice. It’s our way of saying thank you!
~Nicole Cushing, LPN, Victoria Hospice