“Palliative care is not what happens when all treatments have failed. It does not mean “giving up” or “stopping the fight.” If you are fighting cancer or Lou Gehrig’s disease, palliative care means a team of people — such as doctors, nurses, social workers and others — will help make sure you have what you need to continue fighting.” Dr. Jeff Myers – University of Toronto
Today I paid a visit to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Wig Salon and Accessories Boutique. It is the only place in Toronto that I found that accepts gently used wigs to be reconditioned for patients that may need one. I also discovered they will take head coverings and scarves too. They have a Look Good Feel Better program out of the space as well as sell hats and accessories with proceeds going back to the hospital. I was lucky to meet the lovely team including Wig Specialist Laurie as well as a fourteen year volunteer giving back. Such a special place to help patients. Unfortunately not everyone is lucky to have work and/or private insurance or can afford to cover the cost of a wig. For those patients PMH runs a service outside of the PMH Lodge on Jarvis on Wednesday mornings to help those who cannot afford a wig and do not have insurance. All wigs have been donated like the one I dropped off today. Appointments must be made in advance by phoning Laurie at 416-413-7412. Losing your hair can be traumatizing so if you have gently used wigs, head coverings or scarves, definitely consider donating them to PMH and help patients in need.
“Somehow or other you need to get yourself in a headspace of living in the moment cause it is the only place to be when you have a terminal illness. Living in the moment is the only place to be as that is where all the good things reside. Your friends, your family, your love, your humour, things you like to do and that is the key.” ~ Pat Mackey
Very wise words from a beautiful woman who shared her beautiful spirit with so many including me.
Today marks the beginning of The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association 2018 Hospice Palliative Care Week. It seemed like a fitting time to share Pat’s story.
I was very blessed to have met Pat when through my volunteer work. Despite the return of her cancer, she continued to give back to the North York General’s patient- and family-centred care initiatives. Pat also decided to share her own story about the return of her cancer, the important role of palliative care all while volunteering for the hospital and committing to enjoying every day. Sadly we lost Pat in 2014 but her legacy lives on through an award created by her family as well as the video she created during the final year of her life: Pat Mackey: Living with a terminal cancer diagnosis.
Pat’s wish was that by sharing her experience, patients and families will know that “palliative care is about finding energy and joy in your day, not focusing on the illness.” Please take the time to watch Pat’s video and share it with others.
Pat was an amazing and inspirational lady. She makes one think about what they want their legacy in this world to be. I am so lucky to have met her and will remember her forever. She was truly making a world of difference.
Happiness is finally meeting Murphy – Wellness Partner and Therapy Dog in Training at North York General Hospital. Spending ten minutes with Murphy brought joy to my entire day. Follow Murphy on his journey on Instagram at @murphy_pawsforyourhealth. I can’t wait to visit him again!