"Our Joanie" - a special thank you

Dear Staff and volunteers of Beth Donovan Hospice, Kemptville, ON


I have been lamenting on how I am going to write this “thank you” letter and the words to use.

Thank you “just doesn’t seem to do justice to what the children and I want to say.

For those that met and helped “Our Joanie” please know that hearts were so full at her end. Your support while she was in Kemptville Hospital and throughout her transition to our home was paramount to having her pass not only with dignity, but where and how she wanted to, here at home with her Yorkie, Charlie, and I right by her side.  

Some of you may know, most may not, but Joan Haineault was 81 years old, feisty, full spirited, strong willed, blue eyed, red haired tiny Irish spit fire of an amazing woman. She was widow and lived on her own prior to be diagnosed mid July 2012 through the Ottawa Hospital with lung cancer again. This time, however, the cancer had spread througout her body and it was agreed by all parties herself and her medical team that “treatment” moving forward would be to keep her comfortable and give her quality of life. Joan Hainaeult 3

Over the past 6 years I have not only been her primary caregiver but she was one of my best friends.   She was a grandmother figure to my two children and it was my daughter that coined her “my Joanie” hence forth moving forward she was known to many as “our Joanie”.  We had spoken over the years that as she had no close family support she would come live with us when the time came .

That time came far sooner than we all ever imagined. I am a single mother of 2 and work 3 jobs. All “our Joanie” wanted was to come home………

You have no idea how this broke my heart as I just couldn’t see how I could make this happen. My children begged me to find a way. We had Charlie her yorkie that she missed terribly and they could see she was miserable in hospital. We were able to get her transferred from Ottawa to Kemptville so at least we could go see her at least twice daily. And every visit she would look at me with those big baby blues and plead with me to “please bring her home”   She at time yelled and screamed. It was awful. She was not living she was merely existing and slipping into a deep depression.

CCAC couldn’t give us the hours I needed to cover all our home care needs as even cutting my schedule back to part time wasn’t enough, I still had to work. You can’t imagine the look on “our Joanie’s” face when I told her there was just no way I could bring her home. A light went out of her eyes.

And then Laura (volunteer coordinator) from Beth Donovan Hospice saw Joanie for a visit. They could offer us help; have someone come sit with Joan for those hours I just couldn’t get covered. We didn’t have the financial resources’ for private care.  There were still many things to get organized but a “CHEER” went up!!!!! thanks to the support from Beth Donovan Hospice “our Joanie” could come home!!!!!

There were still things to get organized but they had the volunteer that was going to come to the house come and meet Joan in the hospital and visit. I needed assistive devices in the home and had no idea how or where I was going to find them let alone the funds. Once again there they were. 'What do you need, let’s check and see what we have' - raised toilet seat, bed rail, wedge pillow and volunteer driver, they were there every step.

Once we got home our needs changed quickly from Wednesday to Friday. We now needed a commode and wheel chair. I panicked…….one frantic text to Laura and one phone call to Beth Donovan Hospice and 2 hours later we were equipped for the weekend and the next chapter in this journey.

I can say without a sliver of doubt that without all the people and on-going mental health support for me as a caregiver from everyone at Beth Donovan Hospice not only would “our Joanie” not have been able to come home, she would not have had the quality of end of life full on ‘LIVING” she was able to experience in the short time she had once home.

As you can see “thank you “just seems inadequate for the group of people that are Beth Donovan Hospice as an organization. You not only gave Mrs. Joan M. Haineault a chance for dignity and respect but you gave her, myself and the kids the greatest gift of all - your support granted her wish to live and I do mean live her final moments at home surrounded by love and laughter.

With all of our hearts we thank you all!!!


Tasha, Grayson and Adyson.









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  • “There were still things to get organized: I needed assistive devices in the home and had no idea how or where I was going to find them let alone the funds. Once again there they were, “What do you need, let’s check and see what we have”; Raised toilet seat, bed rail, wedge pillow, and volunteer driver they were there every step. Once we got home our needs changed quickly; we now needed a commode and wheelchair. I panicked … one frantic text to our Home Visiting volunteer and one phone call to Beth Donovan Hospice and 2 hours later we were equipped for the weekend and the next chapter in this journey.”
  • “The meals are so tasty and well planned. The driver (Shawn) is a real gentleman and a pleasure to ride with – the highlight of my week.”
  • “Thank you for all the wonderful weeks. ‘Hospice day’ is a highlight! Thank you as well to all the volunteers – they add so much to our day out!”
  • “Don looked forward to Elaine’s visits for the conversation and the lively interest they shared in current events. Her visits were a vital connection for him.”
  • “For us, to have the hospice volunteer come in every week was a godsend; she was so warm and joyful, and she truly paid attention to the particulars of our family. She learned that my sister enjoyed mystery stories so began a story which they shared each week, both looking forward to the next chapter. I know that my sister must have loved their tie together sitting outside in the warm summer air, hearing a new chapter each week.”

Volunteer Share

  • “Being a hospice volunteer is an amazingly rewarding experience. Being able to give comfort and support to families while they are facing a very difficult time, or being able to give them a few hours a week even just to sit and chat, can mean so much to them. I am proud to be part of this wonderful organization and have formed lasting friendships with other volunteers as well as the staff.”

    Sandra Mackenzie, Home-Visiting Volunteer

  • “When I lost my mother and mother-in-law, the hospice and palliative care they received meant the world to us. I knew then it was my volunteer calling. Weighed against other volunteer experiences, this is by far the most meaningful for me. When it comes to end-of-life, we can’t fix the situation or alter the course, but we can make the journey a little better along the way. To ‘make the best day possible’ for clients and their families, that’s my hope.”

    Daryl Webber, Home-Visiting Volunteer


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     A Client's sister says thank you to hospice I wanted to write a note to let you know how much hospice means to families such…
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1107 French Settlement Road,
Kemptville, ON, K0G1J0 

Phone: 613.258.9611
Fax: 613.258.9651
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