By Kevin Woodhouse
Anthony Kissmate worked on the West Island as a community relations officer for Station 1 and 3 for seven years from 1997-2004. During his tenure here, he remembered the West Island as being a tight knit community.
One of his highlights of the job was when the West Island Palliative Care Residence was able to open its doors to the public in October 2002 after co-founders Teresa Dellar and former MNA Russell Williams worked tirelessly to bring the residence to fruition.
And although Kissmate moved to Ottawa to pursue his career, he traveled back almost every weekend to visit his mother and father. As an only child, the burden of helping his aging parents was something he enjoyed doing because of all the care they had given him as a child.
At the end of May, Kissmate’s mother, who has lived with multiple sclerosis for the last 25 years, suffered a stroke and was transferred to the Care Residence where she was able to finish her life with dignity.
Kissmate felt blessed that his mother was able to have a “peaceful, serene and dignified last few days in the residence despite the fact that the last 10 days of my loving Mom’s life were the most excruciatingly painful, emotional, surreal, yet powerfully bonding and treasured moments of my life.
“My father and I are utterly heartbroken and wish she had never left,” said Kissmate. “That said, like many families before us and those after us, faced with the heart-wrenching inevitability of the situation, we were blessed that our angel shared her final moments with family at the West Island Palliative Care Residence in such a beautifully peaceful and dignified setting, and most importantly, free from pain.
“The entire staff, from the doctors, nurses, caretakers, administration, to the kitchen, maintenance, reception, and volunteers, was so compassionate, humane and caring,” said Kissmate.
Because of the exemplary cared Kissmate saw his mother receive, he wanted to raise awareness about the need for the residence that relies on yearly fundraising of $3 million from donors in order to keep the 23 bed facility up and running.
“Anyone who experiences the West Island Palliative Care Residence becomes an instant believer, and I hope our story inspires the community to contact the Residence or visit its website to offer financial support, no matter the amount,” said Kissmate.
The former West Island SPVM officer said that he and his father “will be lifelong donors.”
To learn more about the residence, go online at www.wipcr.ca.
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