Peace Arch Hospice Society’s Celebrate a Life fundraiser has returned to Semiahmoo Shopping Centre. People who donate $20 or more are to receive a hand-painted dove. (Contributed photo)

Peace Arch Hospice Society’s Celebrate a Life fundraiser has returned to Semiahmoo Shopping Centre. People who donate $20 or more are to receive a hand-painted dove. (Contributed photo)

Peace Arch Hospice fundraiser Celebrate a Life returns to South Surrey

Hospice fundraiser runs until Dec. 23 at Semiahmoo Shopping Centre

Dealing with the loss of loved one is a painful experience.

Emotions swell, and often, the first step is to be surrounded by friends and family as a way to share the burden of grief. Finding closure is necessary.

This year, the challenge of finding that closure has been especially difficult.

Not only are B.C. residents ordered by the provincial health officer to not gather in groups of more than 10 people for funerals or celebrations of life, but people often aren’t allowed to meet, for that one final time, with their loved one who is in the process of dying.

However, through this global pandemic, the Peace Arch Hospice has continued to find a way to provide grief support programs, free of charge.

And newly announced executive director Amanda McNally says the hospice’s role today is more important than ever.

“There’s so much to unpack when people are grieving in quote-unquote normal times. I think that this is just an exceptional circumstance that we find ourselves in,” she said.

While hospice has found creative ways to host support programs, either virtually or in-person employing personal protective equipment and Plexiglass dividers, some programs were not able to return.

“I think what we’re going to see is a lot of complicated grief for people because there’s so many elements to the losses right now that haven’t been there in the past,” she said.

But much like the challenges hospice is facing in terms of the supports it can offer, they have also been affected financially.

The programs the hospice society offers are free, due to the thousands of dollars the society receives through community donations and money raised at its annual events.

However, like many non-profits in Surrey and White Rock, the Peace Arch Hospice Society had to cancel two of its key fundraising events this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The cancellations have left the hospice with one key event for the year, the Celebrate a Life fundraiser.

SEE ALSO: Celebrate a Life initiative marks 30th year

From now until Dec. 23, people are invited to visit the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre, where they can write their loved one’s name on a paper dove and hang it from a tree. With a donation of $20 or more to the society, they will also receive a ceramic or wooden dove, hand-painted by a local artist, to bring home.

A hospice volunteer will be with the tree as long as the mall is open.

Deirdre Lane, who organizes the volunteers, said she was a bit worried that volunteer turnout would be low this year.

“But I was just amazed. The first two or three weeks, people were very forthcoming in wanting to help out. I was really pleased,” Lane said.

Lane, who has volunteered for the Celebrate a Life program for the past five years, said for some, Christmas can be a difficult, lonely time.

A highlight of the volunteer job, she noted, is the opportunity to listen to people who offer stories of their loved one.

“It is lovely to hear them.”

ChristmasfundraiserSurreyWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Police called to Surrey home for report of weapon, man taken into custody

Surrey RCMP say people evacuated from house, one found in a bedroom ‘hiding from police’

Students at Creekside Elementary in Surrey wrote letters to seniors over the holidays, and are planning to write more for Valentine’s Day and Family Day. (Photo:
Surrey elementary students connect with seniors through letter writing

Creekside students planning to send more cards for Valentine’s Day

Surrey Fire Service responded to a fire in the industrial area of 192nd street and 54th Avenue early Saturday morning (Jan. 23, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews respond to fire in industrial area

Fire happened early Saturday morning

Johnston Heights Secondary in Surrey. (Image: Google Street View)
Surrey school district getting second International Baccalaureate diploma program

New program to start at Johnston Heights in September

Delta View Care Centre (Google Street View image)
COVID-19 outbreak over at Delta long-term care facility, says Fraser Health

Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre outbreak first declared on Nov. 1, 2020

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram has recorded his first NHL career point (Rob Wilton/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants Bowen Byram records first NHL career point with Colorado Avalanche

Player with Langley-based WHL franchise assisted on goal against the Ducks

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Most Read