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City’s philanthropists rally to support new palliative care centre

While some might think there’s no such thing as “a good death,” others believe that with a minimal amount of work, there could be such a thing as an easy death. To that end, St. Raphael’s Palliative Care center has already opened its doors in a renovated church on the eastern tip of Côte des Neiges-NDG. Aside from providing care and compassion to the dying, St. Raphael’s also offers a day centre that provides a multitude of therapeutic services for autonomous patients who want to make the most of what’s left of their lives.

“There’s a lot to be said for the quality of time spent with someone you love at the end of their lives,” said board chair Marie-Michèle Del Balso. “It’s a precious moment and you don’t want to waste it.”

As the chair of the powerful philanthropic organization that initiated and built the new centre, Del Balso went on to tell The Suburban that “it’s very important to build community, because community provides hope...not the kind of hope that will give our clients more time, but the kind of hope that lets them take full advantage of each and every day that’s left of their life.”

When compared to the front-page horrors about single seniors in assorted rest homes being found dead in their beds days after they died, Del Balso told The Suburban that St. Raphael’s is a hospice where “everyone should have an end of life that’s filled with humanity and dignity.”

Although it’s taken more than 10 years and $10 million to make a dying priest’s wish come true, Fr. Gerald Sinel understood what it means to be scared and alone when you’re left to die in some hospital’s “terminal” ward. When faced with his own terminal diagnosis, Sinel told friends and supporters that he wished his own parish church (St. Raphael the Archangel) could be transformed into a palliative care centre because he recognized how an entire generation will eventually need decent palliative care well into the next few decades.

Based upon the efforts of the extensive and well coordinated effort that’s supported by several leaders of Montreal’s philanthropic community, St. Raphael’s renovation is a triumph of post-modern form and multi-functional design that’s blessed with an abundant use of natural light. With large and spacious rooms that give onto a well-lit communal space, there’s more than enough room for community activities that can include everything from family gatherings to an evening concert for everybody.

New English parents leadership elected

The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) elected a new executive during its Annual General Assembly last Saturday in Montreal.

Board members representing their respective school board Parent Committees elected outgoing Vice-President and English Montreal School Board delegate Katherine Korakakis as President, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board delegate Ailsa Pehi as Vice-President. Pierre Masson of the Central Quebec School Board was elected Treasurer.

Korakakis succeeds Rhonda Boucher who served as President for four years, thanking her fellow directors for their confidence. “I look forward to meeting the challenges that lie ahead and working with the diverse and dedicated board members who are the voice of parent stakeholders in Quebec’s English public education network.”

Unlike the Quebec English School Boards Association, which represents schoolboards via councils comprised of elected and appointed commissioners – many with few, tenuous or no links at all to the school community – EPCA is a direct representation of Parent Committees with directors elected by fellow parents of children in English public schools.

For 10 years, Korakakis has been responsible for the development of entrepreneurial initiatives and projects under the auspices of the Quebec government’s Quebec Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge program. She has authored and co-authored guidebooks on entrepreneurship education and served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations and serves as Vice-President of PME MTL Centre-Ouest and on the investment committees of PME MTL Centre and PME MTL Centre-Ouest.

A business and political consultant, Pehi is a former Sir Wilfrid Laurier school commissioner and currently serves as Vice-President of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation, and board Vice-President of the non-profit Centre d’Activités Récréatives et Educatives which serves Anglophone adults with physical disabilities.

With 16 delegates elected from eight English school board Parent Committees, EPCA has worked since 2009 with Quebec organizations and associations helping support parent committees and representing their interests to the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur.

“I’m glad the team came back in the second half,” Lakers coach Karim Ladicani said. “It was only a five-point difference, and that only happened in the last few minutes of the game. The only thing we can do is practice hard and come back stronger next game.”