Dear Community Member,
I want to tell you about Karyn.
Karyn first came to Sakura House for a tour in January of this year. After spending several months under the care of our lead doctor, Dr. Karen Fryer, at her home in Woodstock, the treatments for her breast cancer had stopped working. She visited Sakura with her mother, Barb, who remembers Karyn saying right away that “it is so peaceful here.”
Karyn moved into Sakura House on March 15th. Barb said there was “always laughter coming out of Karyn’s room. The staff and volunteers were so kind and gentle and funny. They could really get her laughing.” The goal for their family was to keep the sadness and despair out her room as much as they could. Every morning Karyn would choose a quote for the day to inspire her. She had a few favourites: “We love you to the moon and back,” and “Today is a good day to have a good day.” When she couldn’t choose them anymore, her family would pick one from the quotes she had collected online with her Pinterest account.
Peace and laughter, these were two things that Sakura House gave to Karyn for the 16 days she spent there. Your donation is what makes that gift possible. I hope Karyn’s story will inspire you to make a gift today. Even $50 can make a difference.
Karyn was 36 years old, she was married to Brian and they had two beautiful girls. Malia is five years old and Malyn is three years old. Barb describes Karyn as a “rule follower. She was always kind. She was a compassionate and caring person, always for the underdog or for those who were hurting.” She was drawn to the caring profession and became an autism specialist. “When Karen came into the room, the place lit up.”
Karyn spent the good part of a year helping her two girls plan for their lives without her. She filled out the book “Mom, tell me your story please?” to help answer some of the questions her girls might have as they grow up. She also hand-wrote messages to their teachers to help them navigate their school years. “The girls visited their mom daily and brought joy to the hospice when you heard their little feet run down the hall to see mommy,” recalls Barb.
When the pain was too much, Karyn’s mother Barb remembers the nurses asking them to leave the room. They instinctively knew what Karyn and the family needed in that moment. Barb remembers feeling such a wave of relief that Karyn’s pain would be eased. “Sakura House gave my daughter the time and place to live the final days of her life with dignity and connection. They cared for Karyn affirming she was beautiful, loved and understood.” The kind of care that Karyn received is made possible because of donors like you.
Our residential hospice provides compassionate end-of-life care at no cost to patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A skilled team of nurses, personal support workers, physicians, a social worker and specially trained volunteers are there to help. Hospice care is covered only partially by government funding so we need to raise more than $600,000 each year to cover the gap. That is why your donation is so important.
Karyn died at Sakura House on March 31, 2019. One of her final quotes in her room was “cultivate kindness.” It is a message that will be carried forward into the lives of her family members and friends. And, it is a message that we can all strive for and that lives within your gift to Sakura House.
Giving cultivates kindness. This holiday season, please consider a gift to VON Oxford Sakura House to honour Karyn’s wish.
Volunteer Chair, VON Oxford Community Corporation
P.P.S. Make your gift before midnight on December 31st, 2019 to receive your 2019 charitable tax receipt.