May 14, 2020: Message from CEO Helen Long

The latest update from the desk of Dying With Dignity's CEO, Helen Long. Stay tuned for regular updates on our work and current events. In this update: welcoming spring, two of our recent webinars, and remembering 40 years of DWDC's work.

It’s been exciting to see spring start to arrive with some early daffodils, robins everywhere, and the mix of rain and sunshine that has been part of the past few weeks. I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few updates from the past month on our activities at Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC).

At the end of April, we celebrated International Volunteer Week with an email and video thank you to our volunteers, as well as a Meet & Greet webinar. It was an opportunity for our volunteers to come together and ask questions and to hear a bit about where DWDC is going in the months ahead. Our volunteers are the heart of the work that we do, and we sincerely thank each and every one of them for their support and commitment.

As many of you may know, this year marks the 40th Anniversary of DWDC’s founding by Marilynne Seguin. To mark the occasion, DWDC’s Ottawa Chapter and its dedicated volunteers created a panel discussion, MAID: A Snapshot Today & the Potential for Tomorrow. Panelists Daphne Gilbert, Associate Professor & Vice Dean Governance, University of Ottawa; Louise Linney, Family Practitioner & MAID Practitioner; and Maury Prevost, DWDC supporter, were joined by moderator Susan Desjardins, DWDC Board Member and Ottawa Chapter Chair.

Together they reflected on how far we have come and the opportunities that await us with the federal government’s amending legislation, Bill C-7, and the anticipated legislative review of MAID and palliative care. This was a fascinating and insightful webinar that I would encourage you to access and watch on our website. Special thanks to Daphne, Louise, and Maury for sharing their experiences and insights with us all and to the Ottawa Chapter for their leadership in organizing.

While we unfortunately can’t gather to celebrate our 40th year together in person, stay tuned as we mark this historic year with a variety of activities and remembrances of the past. If you have a special memory, photo, or story that you’d like to share with us from the past 40 years of DWDC, please drop us a line at info@dyingwithdignity.ca. We’d love to take a trip down memory lane with you.

In my last message, I told you about the exclusive COVID-19 Advance Care Planning Kit that we created to help Canadians discuss their end-or-life choices with their loved ones, substitute decision-makers, and healthcare providers. In April, we hosted the webinar Advance Care Planning & COVID-19: Voicing Your Choice in Uncertain Times with experts Connie Jorsvik, National Advance Care Planning Coordinator; Valerie Cooper MN, NP-Adult, CHPCN(C) Nurse Practitioner, Hospice Palliative Care Program South East Local Health Integration Network, Kingston; and Maureen Aslin, Education Manager, Dying With Dignity Canada. Our panelists shared the information you need to help you document and make your wishes known. If you missed the webinar, don’t worry! You can watch it online here, and access all our past webinars at your convenience on our website. If you haven’t completed your Advance Care Plan, please consider doing so today — there’s no better time than the present to communicate your preferences for care.

Take care and stay safe,

Helen

Helen Long, CEO


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