2020 – What a year!

We have all been impacted by the unforeseen events this last year. Burnaby Hospice Society was no different.

As with most businesses, layoffs were necessary as our thrift store closed in the Spring due to health requirements. Fortunately, we have re-hired this staff. To compound the challenges our Board President moved to Nova Scotia in the Summer, necessitating my move to this position.

It is our sincere wish the second wave does not have the impact of the first. We are in good financial position and nothing would be achieved without our wonderful staff, volunteers and Board. Our goal remains to improve the care of those facing end of life issues.

We wish all a merry Christmas and a less eventful 2021!!


Richard Hancock, 
Board Chair, Burnaby Hospice Society

santaArtboard 3

HO HO HO from the office

What a crazy year this has been. I know many of you have wondered if the office is open, and yes it is. However, we will be working holiday hours during the month of December. Here are our office hours:

Dec. 1st-23rd – 8:30am – 4:30pm Dec. 24th: 9am – 12pm CLOSED from Dec. 25th – January 4th

We will be checking our messages and our emails, so if you need to get hold of us please leave a message.

Stay safe and happy holidays.

St. Mike's Hospice Update

Sheri Dee is the patient care coordinator and the “go to” person at St. Michael’s hospice and has been leading a team of nurses and staff for the last few years. She is the one that everyone turns, to, including the volunteers! Sheri-Dee is that voice of reason and measured calm when things get challenging.  

But, honestly, what do you do with a problem as challenging as COVID, especially when you work in the health sector.   For her, it has been another mountain to climb. As the volunteer team was suspended in the early days she brought out the very best in her front line workers to continue to deliver compassionate, patient centered care, despite the restrictions put in place. Under Sheri Dee’s leadership and careful guidance we were able to cobble together a small volunteer force of greeters, one to one visitors, and feeders. St. Mike’s is still providing the very best in end-of-life care and we look forward to reinstating our full volunteer program.

Until we are back in full force, we’d like to thank Sheri-Dee and all the front-line workers (in the palliative ward, in hospice and in the community) for your strength, courage and resilience in a truly challenging time.  

To volunteer, contact Kara at volunteers@burnabyhospice.org

Thrift Store Update

with Lucia Brum

The Thrift Store will be closed December 24/25/26/27/31 and January 1st/2nd.

OPEN ON DECEMBER 28/29/30 | Please, no donations during store closure.

Season’s Greeting from The Burnaby Hospice Society Thrift Store! The Holidays can bring forth many strong emotions of joy and of sadness. This year has been a very hard and challenging one that we all agree can not end soon enough. I was speaking to a few customers that had admitted that they were having the “holiday blues” because of the uncertainties of what they will look like this year. I think a lot of us feel the same way but all we can do is abide by the rules that the professionals are suggesting and stay safe, keep our distances and wear a mask. It may not look like our usual holidays but we will all try to make the best out of them and get through this together.

If I have learnt anything this year is that I will try harder to be present for more social gatherings that I have passed on before and spend more quality time with people that I admire and love. The good thing that came out of this was that I had much more time (forced or not) to stay home and be with my family.  We found creative ways to keep busy from board games and puzzles to our take on vegetable gardening and home repairs. The point is that when push came to shove WE DID IT, and we will continue to do this and survive.

Now onto a bit about the business. Well its no secret that we have taken a hit as many other businesses has but all in all we have managed to keep our lights on, our staff working and still turn a bit of a profit. Donations were coming in steadily and volunteers were available to process them. We are so very grateful to our donors and volunteers for keeping us going. Thank YOU! 


From Sandra, Cheryl, Leslie, Allison, Elizabeth and I we wish you a very memorable, safe and happy holiday! We look forward to a brighter, healthier and a prosperous 2021.

Take Care of yourself and your loved ones,

Lucia Brum, Store Manager

Here’s an easy way to support the Burnaby Hospice Society, buy “No Place like Home” raffle tickets. before December 18th to be entered to win the Early Bird Prize.

Check out this link for all the details and thank you Beedie Developments for their generous sponsorship.

An Interview with Janis Makuch

by Cordelia Mejin, Registered Clinical Counsellor and Bereavement Program Coordinator

What would you like to say to encourage people who are experiencing grief?

The first step is to reach out for counselling with someone you can jive with who is caring and understanding – someone you can connect with. The connection with you has been perfect. It’s important that if you don’t connect with the first person you reach out to, to keep trying to find someone you can connect with and open up to.


What have you found helpful in your experience of grief?

  • In addition to counselling, the resources and reading materials that you shared have benefited me in my grief. It has been immeasurable in that I have so many things I can turn to outside of counselling sessions. For example, the Facebook support group and Camp Kerry support group.
  • You shared an article about losing both parents. It validated everything I am feeling – I read it from time to time and it’s a reminder of why I’m feeling this way.
  • Creating collages were helpful in that I was able to put my feelings into pictures. It enabled me to put my feelings on paper – I can look back and remember how I was feeling. Additionally, creating collage boxes with memories brought me back to some happier times – I’ve been able to work through some feelings that I had. It helped me to move forward from some of the darker feelings to some of the happier moments. I am grateful for that. I would never have thought to do that on my own without you. I couldn’t even describe some of the feelings I was feeling inside, until I put it on paper – for you to look at it with me and talk to me about it has been invaluable
  • The walking group has been really helpful to me. I look forward to the walk every week, because I know that whatever that is in my cup, I can spill it to people I’ve been walking with. It makes my cup empty and I am able to fill it up with other things. It helps to be able to unload especially during a stressful time. The people in the walking group have been completely understanding and supportive. They have their own stories that they have to share – it helps to normalize everything. It has been imperative to me especially during the pandemic to be able to connect with volunteers.


What are some ideas of coping through the holidays that you have found helpful?

It was important for me to connect with you before Christmas and share some of my feelings so I know how to handle the holidays going into December. The holidays are going to be tough but you gave me some good suggestions. Leading up to the holidays, I will be doing some things to remember the good times with my parents. I might do some Ukrainian cooking to remember the good things shared on Christmas nights. I plan to have a lighted candle and photos with me so that I have memories around me during Christmas time. The holidays won’t be the same but doing these things will help me get through the holidays.

All support services are provided free of charge. We provide 9-12 counselling sessions. In order to ensure that you receive support that is best suited to your concerns, you will need to complete an online intake form. When needed, we provide referrals to other professionals. To receive an online intake form, or for more information, please visit our website at: burnabyhospice.org/services/ or contact us at counselling@burnabyhospice.org or 604.520.5024.

Thank You to our Volunteers

Since the inception of the Burnaby Hospice Society, some 34 years ago, volunteers have been a huge part of the Palliative and Bereavement teams. During a regular year we would have over 75 active members offering their compassionate presence, their time and their talents. We would have volunteers providing one to one visiting, tea service, therapeutic touch, Reiki, art and legacy work, leading bereavement groups as well as visits in the community.  Although the majority of volunteer positions have been suspended we managed to lend our support as greeters, special visitors, garden workers, bereavement walking group leaders as well as a lone cookie maker and a Christmas decorator.  The safety of our staff, volunteers, residents and community clients remains the highest priority, but we miss our team of volunteers deeply. To those volunteers who have still been able to help through the pandemic, we are truly grateful.

To those volunteers who have had to step away from their roles, we miss your compassionate wisdom, we miss your encouraging words, we miss your kindness and your enthusiasm. We look forward to welcoming you back one day soon.

Any questions about the volunteering program, contact Kara Davies at volunteers@burnabyhospice.org


Wishing you an unprecedented but happy and safe holiday time. Here’s to a fresh start for 2021.