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Matthews House Hospice getting grant for new storytelling program

Margo Cooney, Board President, Kim Woodland, CEO and Debra Walker Coordinator of the live on legacy storytelling program

Margo Cooney, Board President, Kim Woodland, CEO and Debra Walker Coordinator of the live on legacy storytelling program

COMMUNITY 02:00 PM Alliston Herald

Matthews House Hospice has received $72,700 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation for its new Live on Legacy Storytelling Program. The program was officially launched Oct. 19. President of the board of directors Margo Cooney (left) is pictured with CEO Kim Woodland and Storytelling Coordinator Debra Walker. - Brad Pritchard/Metroland

UPDATED — Matthews House Hospice in Alliston is receiving $72,700 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation for its new Live on Legacy Storytelling Program.

The hospice held an open house Oct. 19 to kick off the launch of the new program.

The program will provide access, inspiration and opportunity for people of all ages to record, preserve, and share their life stories, according to hospice spokesperson Andrea Roylance.

She said it will be co-ordinated by a program lead and facilitated by trained volunteers, adding community members will have the opportunity to participate in audio and video interviews using provided equipment.

Roylance said the program is intended to transfer wisdom from one generation to the next, and to leave a compelling legacy for the future.

At the kickoff, the hospice's president of the board of directors Margo Cooney noted that humans have shared stories from the beginning of time.

"We will have the opportunity to record those stories, either in video form, audio form, through pictorial collages, any form that the individual would like to share their history and their legacy, and the history and legacies of these individuals are what we South Simcoe, the amazing region that it is, through the gifts, triumphs and tragedies that people have suffered and enjoyed throughout their lifetime," she said.

Storytelling co-ordinator Debra Walker will oversee the program.

"I've had the honour of being part of Matthews House Hospice for two years ... and one of the most magnetic parts of it is that you have the opportunity to hear stories," she said, adding she sincerely appreciates the Trillium Foundation for its support.

She talked about the importance of sharing people's legacies with future generations.

"It's up to us to capture as many life lessons as we can," she said.

The legacies will be featured in the Debbie Hudson Reflection Room on the second floor.

“As the hub for the delivery of integrated hospice palliative care services in our community, we are thrilled to be able to provide this important program enabling our families and communities to celebrate and enjoy their legacy through stories at this time and in the future,” said Kim Woodland, Matthews House Hospice CEO.

For more information visit


Matthews House Hospice opens new Centre of Excellence

131 Wellington Street East, Alliston, on L9R 1G7

131 Wellington Street East, Alliston, on L9R 1G7

“For the community. By the community.”

Those are the words over the door of the new Matthews House Hospice at 131 Wellington St. E. in Alliston — perfectly describing the 2,508-square-metre Centre of Excellence that officially opened its doors earlier this month.The Centre of Excellence combines a 10-bed residential hospice, providing 24-7 end-of-life care and support — replacing the original six-bed hospice — with all of the wellness programs, grief counselling, art therapy and other services formerly available at Matthews House on Highway 89.
Programs and outreach — including palliative care, caregiver support, counselling, respite, and the new Sanctuary at Home program that brings hospice services into to the home — are provided free of charge to the community.
And that community, through its support and sponsorship, made it possible to build the facility in just more than a year, said Andrea Roylance, manager of gifts and gratitude. The sod-turning took place April 27, 2017, and the ribbon cutting on July 12 this year.
Response to Matthews House Hospice’s $6-million capital campaign ranged from individual donations, to the $750,000 gift from Honda Canada Foundation.
A big part of the effort was the sale of naming rights for everything from benches, flowers and a barbecue, to the large meeting rooms.
“Everybody wants to be involved,” Roylance said. “Even the covered porches are named.”
There is a plaque on nearly every door, bench and chair in memory or in honour of a loved one — a lasting legacy that ensures Matthews House Hospice can provide a warm, comfortable, caring space for those facing the end of life, and for their families.
From the wall of glass flowers designed by Kelly Lowe at the entrance to Matthews House, to the family lounges, meeting rooms, libraries and quiet rooms, everything is designed to be accessible, calming and comfortable.
Volunteer Cheryl Nuttal led a tour around the new facility, pointing out the Frank & Sally Taylor Library, with its cozy seating and bookcases, and the “Reflections Room — the first one in Canada,” where the grieving can sit and share their thoughts, writing them down with pen and paper, to be framed and displayed on the walls.
There are therapy rooms for reiki, massage and aromatherapy; learning centres for classes and community meetings; and Kathy’s Kitchen, named in honour of Kathy Black, where muffins are available at breakfast, and a crock pot of soup is always on the go at lunchtime.
It is a space not only for residents of Matthews House, but for their families — where quality of life is the most important thing.
Each residential suite is bright and cheerful, with a daybed for family members who want to stay close, and access to the outdoors. Palliative beds can be easily wheeled outside to enjoy the beautiful garden with its gazebo and flowers.
“Each room has been sponsored by someone... Someone generously donated a blanket warmer,” said Nuttal, who came to Matthews House 10 years ago after experiencing “just a year from hell” — a year of numbing loss and grief.
After speaking with volunteers and counsellors, she stayed to volunteer.
There are areas that are still “in the works,” including suites where out of town families will be able to stay on-site, and a theatre room.
It is “a work in progress,” said Nuttal, but it’s coming together quickly.
At present, four of the 10 beds are occupied.
“In a year, it’s amazing what can happen,” said Roylance, noting that there is “momentum,” as people become more aware of Matthews House Hospice. She said she expects the hospice to be full within a short period of time.
“It’s educating people on what hospice is,” Roylance said. “It’s starting the conversation. I’m really thrilled with the awareness that’s happening” — especially in Bradford West Gwillimbury, which is in the Matthews House service area.

The capital campaign still has a little way to go before it wraps up, and there a few “naming rights” still available, but the focus is already beginning to shift to “sustainability,” she said.
It costs approximately $2.2 million per year to operate the Matthews House Hospice Centre of Excellence. The government of Ontario has committed just more than $1 million annually to help cover medical and nursing costs, which means “we need to raise $1.2 million every year,” said Roylance.
Right now, much of that is being raised through special events. The Hike for Hospice in May raised a whopping $111,000.
“Our gala (Sept. 28) needs to raise $300,000. Our golf tourney (Sept. 12), $50,000,” Roylance said.
But even more “awesome” would be for the community to embrace “sustainability and monthly giving,” she said.
A monthly donation of $50, $30, even $20 would provide an economic foundation for Matthews House.

In the meantime, work continues to ensure that the Centre of Excellence provides a warm, caring environment for those at the end of life, their families and caregivers, and the community at large. For the community. By the community.

For more information on Matthews House Hospice, and options for giving visit or call 705-435-7218.

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ALLISTON, ON (Oct. 23, 2017) –The Honda Canada Foundation today announced a $750,000 donation in support of the Matthews House capital campaign, as they expand their valuable services to families in South Simcoe.  Matthews House launched its most recent campaign in 2016 to raise the necessary funds to build a new, state-of-the-art 10-bed facility.  This commitment will directly support the construction of the new facility and provide additional hospice services and palliative support for families in the community.

“As a supporter of Matthews House hospice since they opened their doors in 2004, the Honda Canada Foundation is pleased to strengthen our partnership with this significant $750,000 donation,” said Bill Easdale, Senior Vice President of Honda of Canada Mfg. and Vice Chair of the Honda Canada Foundation. “We are honoured to be a part of this project that will accommodate the growing needs of patients and their families in and around this community.” 

“Matthews House has grown with South Simcoe to deliver the care and comfort that our community needs,” said Margo Cooney, President, Matthews House. “We are fortunate to have such a committed community partner in Honda – they have always been a positive advocate, providing assistance in many ways. We thank them for their tremendous support for this very worthwhile project.”

The Honda Canada Foundation was established with the goal of enhancing the lives and social well-being of Canadian communities. Honda Canada and the Honda Canada Foundation are committed to giving back to communities where its customers and associates live, work and play.

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About the Honda Canada Foundation
Formed in 2005, the Honda Canada Foundation (HCF) aims to enable the realization of dreams through various annual philanthropic activities and funding to non-profit registered charities across Canada where Honda customers and associates live, work and play. The HCF focuses on four key pillars – family, environment, engineering and education – and each year more than $1 million is disbursed to groups in need through more than 500 grants. More than five million Canadians have benefited from Honda Canada and Honda Canada Foundation funded charitable programs.

About Matthews House

Individuals and families from South Simcoe and surrounding area can receive visiting hospice, wellness programs, care giver support or individual counselling. Individuals and families can choose to come to Matthews House Residence surrounded by family and friends for their end of life journey or now receive care in their homes. Our aim is to help individuals live life to the fullest- while coping with a palliative care diagnoses or chronic disease. 

For further information, contact:

Carol Susko, Honda Canada Foundation, 416-418-2635
Andrea Roylance, Matthews House, 705-440-6755

Baxter International Foundation

Baxter International Foundation grant to support Ontario home hospice program

Alliston, ON July 7, 2017— Baxter Canada is pleased to announce that funds from the Baxter International Foundation will help support Sanctuary at Home, a program of Matthews House Hospice in Alliston. The $80,000 USD ($103,500 CDN) grant will bring the compassionate palliative care offered now in the House, into the homes of patients.

“We are taking the hospice care we provide in our residence and providing compassionate care to patients and families at home, at the most challenging time in their lives. This new program is a critical part of the Hospice’s plan to ensure access to high quality hospice palliative care at home in South Simcoe. We thank Baxter for making our vision possible," says Kim Woodland, CEO of Matthews House Hospice.”

Sanctuary at Home will address the community based palliative and end of life care needs of clients and their families, including:

                                             Nursing care provided at home for pain and symptom management

                  Medical consultation provided at home

·                 Nursing care for respite provided at home

·                 Trained volunteer for respite provided at home

·                 Interdisciplinary care plan with community team implemented for allclients and families referred

“Baxter has been part of the Alliston community for 60 years and Baxter employees and their families have long been grateful for the compassion and respite Matthews House offers to those in need,” said Stephen Thompson, General Manager Baxter Canada. “Through the Baxter International Foundation we are proud to support the Hospice’s Sanctuary at Home program, giving patients and families the opportunity to choose hospice care at home.”

About Matthews House Hospice

Individuals and families from South Simcoe and surrounding area can receive visiting hospice, wellness programs, care giver support or individual counselling. Individuals and families can choose to come to Matthews House Residence surrounded by family and friends for their end of life journey or now receive care in their homes. Our aim is to help individuals live life to the fullest- while coping with a palliative care diagnoses or chronic disease. 

About the Baxter International Foundation

Baxter and the Baxter International Foundation are committed to saving and sustaining lives and creating healthier communities. Every day, Baxter employees strive to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people who depend on Baxter products, and in the communities where employees live and work. The company focuses on three core areas including improving access to healthcare; fostering tomorrow’s innovation and serving its communities. Baxter works closely with public and private partners around the world to ensure people have access to the healthcare they need, to develop the next generation of innovators who will lead the way in advancing care, and to create long-lasting impact in Baxter’s communities. The Baxter International Foundation supports initiatives and organizations that make a positive, lasting impact on increasing access to healthcare for the disadvantaged and underserved.

From L to R: Marv Chantler (VP MHH), Margo Cooney (President MHH), Andrea Roylance (Gifts and Gratitude, MHH) , Kim Woodland (CEO MHH), Jeff Higginson (Plant Manager Alliston Baxter), Simone Hartman (Outreach Nurse MHH),Kara Northgrave (Manager, Hospice Care Services MHH),Stephen Thompson (General Manager Baxter Canada) , Ken Cowen (Chief Station Engineering and Maintenance Manager Baxter), Lisa Ward (Senior Manager, Human Resources Baxter), Heather Forster (Administration Baxter)