George Hart was planning to walk from Badger to Grand Falls-Windsor again this summer.
He and Bill Mayne made the seven-hour walk in 2019 to help raise money for the Lionel Kelland Hospice. Through their efforts, they donated about $9,000 toward the completion of the project.
The COVID-19 pandemic halted their planned walk this summer, but there is talk about starting it again next summer.
“When it is finished, they’re still going to need money,” said Hart. “We’d like to get to the point where it is a year-round thing.”
The Lionel Kelland Hospice is now one step closer to becoming a reality, and is set to enter its design and construction phase.
“It’s perfect. It’s great,” Hart said of the news. “I walked for that purpose.”
Helping the hospice reach its final form will be St. John’s-based firm Fougere Menchenton Architecture.
It has been tapped to redesign the hospice to provide the most comfortable space for patients as they enter the final stages of their life.
The initiative to create the hospice — the first of its kind in the province — was started in 2013. A fundraising effort brought in $880,000 and the provincial government contributed $3 million, and the design went to tender.
The Lionel Kelland Hospice is in a building formerly owned by the Presentation Sisters and will feature 10-palliative care units and supportive services for patients and their families.
“This giant leap brings us closer to offering palliative care to people when they are at the most vulnerable point in their lives,” Mark Griffin, board of directors chairperson for the Lionel Kelland Hospice, said in a statement.
Each unit will have a pull-out couch for family members, a cuddle bed, a television and a full bathroom.
The plan is to have bereavement counselling services on site for families, a pharmacy, ecumenical services, a cafeteria, a library and a space where families can stay with their loved ones.
“It is great and it is a long time coming,” said Hart. “I’m really pleased with that.”
The redesign of the building is expected to take a couple of months, with construction starting in early 2021.
Nicholas Mercer is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering central Newfoundland for SaltWire Network