Local citizen Mike Mathieu, in collaboration with the Liffey Players Drama Society, recently donated $48,000 to Wheatland and Area Hospice Society.
Liffey Players Drama Society, an Irish theater group based in Calgary, stopped operations after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group had money left over in their AGLC account and decided to donate the funds instead of letting them sit dormant.
Mathieu, the treasurer of the Liffey Players Drama Society, came up with the idea to donate the left-over funds to Wheatland Hospice to honor his late father-in-law, Chris Kane.
Kane loved performing arts and was heavily involved with the Liffey Players Drama Society as the artistic director.
Mathieu initially got involved with the Irish Drama Club because of his father-in-law.
In 2018, Kane passed away in hospice.
Around that time, he was living in the Strathmore area with Mathieu and his family, and they were attempting to provide at-home care for him, but they soon realized how difficult it can be and decided Kane would receive better care from professionals at a hospice.
For residents of Strathmore, the closest and only options for hospice care are in Calgary.
Kane was moved to a Foothills Country Hospice near Okotoks, and family members had to commute almost an hour one way just to visit him.
Traveling that long distance to visit Kane in hospice was stressful for the whole family.
In that moment, Mathieu understood how important hospice care is and how the Town of Strathmore and surrounding areas would really benefit from having a hospice in the community.
“It's important to have a hospice available in the community. Anyone who has experienced a loved one dying from a slow death knows how much of a struggle it is to take care of them at home or to commute over an hour just to visit,” Mathieu said.
Mathieu was impressed by the care that his father-in-law received at the hospice in Okotoks and was forever impacted by the experience.
“Until you or someone you love needs it, you don't understand how important end-of-life care is."
Through his experience, Mathieu discovered how necessary it is to have a local hospice and hopes that his donation through the Liffey Players Drama Society can help break ground on a hospice in Wheatland County.
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