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Are you looking for a meaningful part-time job in community healthcare? We are currently hiring casual Home Helpers to work in Woodstock, Norwich and Plattsville.

What is a Home Helper? A Home Helper does light housekeeping for clients in their home, prepares meals, provides companionship and conversation to the clients and observes and evaluates the individual’s/family’s home, personal situation and client/family care plan to ensure proper care.

This position is only required during the day, not evenings, and has flexible work hours. Read the job description here:

Apply today to help individuals in our community stay in their home and live their lives to the fullest.


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More than 860 guests, 28 sponsors and over 100 volunteers “painted the town” and raised a record-breaking amount for VON Sakura House on January 17, 2020.

We are excited to officially announce the final grand total and the net proceeds of the event – an amazing $170,849!! This is the largest amount raised since the Handbags for Hospice fundraiser began 10 years ago.

A special part of the evening was the “fund-a-need” segment, asking guests to help reach a goal of $50,000 to build a beautiful courtyard oasis in the patient wing. This goal was reached in five minutes when 375 donors raised $55,924 to make this wish come true. A heartfelt thanks to our family representative Barbara Goldhawk who spoke about her daughter Karyn and Stephanie McGaffey, one of our long-time Registered Nurses, who spoke about her experiences and need for this courtyard space.

We couldn’t have done this event without the help of our hard-working and passionate 2020 Handbags for Hospice Organizing Committee: Christie Birch, Jayne Brewster, Karen Culley, Kim DeGraaf, Nancy Howse, Cathy Lee, Sarah Pimentel, Jill Roberts, and Louisa Russell.

A special thanks to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada as the Handbags for Hospice Title Sponsor.

We are in awe of our community. Thank you.

For more information, please contact:  Trish Gergich Manager, Fund Development 519-539-1231 ext 269 or Cell: 519-476-8848


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Dear Community Member,

I want to tell you about Karyn.

Karyn first came to Sakura House for a tour in January of this year. After spending several months under the care of our lead doctor, Dr. Karen Fryer, at her home in Woodstock, the treatments for her breast cancer had stopped working. She visited Sakura with her mother, Barb, who remembers Karyn saying right away that “it is so peaceful here.”

Karyn moved into Sakura House on March 15th. Barb said there was “always laughter coming out of Karyn’s room. The staff and volunteers were so kind and gentle and funny. They could really get her laughing.” The goal for their family was to keep the sadness and despair out her room as much as they could. Every morning Karyn would choose a quote for the day to inspire her. She had a few favourites: “We love you to the moon and back,” and “Today is a good day to have a good day.” When she couldn’t choose them anymore, her family would pick one from the quotes she had collected online with her Pinterest account.

Peace and laughter, these were two things that Sakura House gave to Karyn for the 16 days she spent there. Your donation is what makes that gift possible. I hope Karyn’s story will inspire you to make a gift today. Even $50 can make a difference.

Karyn was 36 years old, she was married to Brian and they had two beautiful girls. Malia is five years old and Malyn is three years old. Barb describes Karyn as a “rule follower. She was always kind. She was a compassionate and caring person, always for the underdog or for those who were hurting.” She was drawn to the caring profession and became an autism specialist. “When Karen came into the room, the place lit up.”

Karyn spent the good part of a year helping her two girls plan for their lives without her. She filled out the book “Mom, tell me your story please?” to help answer some of the questions her girls might have as they grow up. She also hand-wrote messages to their teachers to help them navigate their school years. “The girls visited their mom daily and brought joy to the hospice when you heard their little feet run down the hall to see mommy,” recalls Barb.

When the pain was too much, Karyn’s mother Barb remembers the nurses asking them to leave the room. They instinctively knew what Karyn and the family needed in that moment. Barb remembers feeling such a wave of relief that Karyn’s pain would be eased. “Sakura House gave my daughter the time and place to live the final days of her life with dignity and connection. They cared for Karyn affirming she was beautiful, loved and understood.” The kind of care that Karyn received is made possible because of donors like you.

Our residential hospice provides compassionate end-of-life care at no cost to patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A skilled team of nurses, personal support workers, physicians, a social worker and specially trained volunteers are there to help. Hospice care is covered only partially by government funding so we need to raise more than $600,000 each year to cover the gap. That is why your donation is so important.

Karyn died at Sakura House on March 31, 2019. One of her final quotes in her room was “cultivate kindness.” It is a message that will be carried forward into the lives of her family members and friends. And, it is a message that we can all strive for and that lives within your gift to Sakura House.

Giving cultivates kindness. This holiday season, please consider a gift to VON Oxford Sakura House to honour Karyn’s wish.

Thank you,

John Goodbun

Volunteer Chair, VON Oxford Community Corporation

P.S. You can help make a family’s life a little easier with a gift to Sakura House. Every donation helps.

P.P.S. Make your gift before midnight on December 31st, 2019 to receive your 2019 charitable tax receipt.


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Karyn’s husband Brian said that “Karyn would have wanted this, for her story to have meaning and to inspire others.”

Giving Tuesday is coming up on on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. If you are thinking about making a gift that day or doing something special to honour or remember a loved one, we hope you will do so with Karyn in mind!

Karyn spent 16 days at Sakura House this past March. Each day she would pick a quote to inspire her. One of her last quotes was “cultivate kindness.”

We will be sharing more about Karyn and her wish for kindness on Giving Tuesday.

🦋 Donate Early here:


At VON Canada, we’re focused on extending the reach of health care providers into communities to enhance the quality of life for our clients — and to create the conditions that help people become and stay healthy and well.

Through the use of Sensory Technologies’ eShift platform, VON Canada has been part of an innovative model of care that better supports palliative and complex patients, while making the delivery of home care easier and more efficient.

For eight years, the VON team has been delivering specialized home care services across Ontario. Recent work with the London Health Sciences Centres award-winning Connecting Care to Home (CC2H) initiative, helping clients with COPD and heart failure manage their illness in a home setting, has resulted in 47.9% cost savings and a reduction in patient length of stay of 59%.

EShift provides clients with direct, 24/7 access to a VON Directing Registered Nurse, and they benefit from an integrated “one care team” approach that includes a common Electronic Health Record across all care settings.

A three-year study, led by Western University, concluded that the eShift model of care supported patients to die in their place of choice, reduced caregiver stress and burden, resulted in shorter hospital stays (with an overall reduction of nearly 60%), and is proven to lower readmission rates in complex end of life patients, with rates now below 2%.

Through the use of eShift, VON Canada health care teams reported high job satisfaction, high interpersonal collaboration, and believed they were providing high quality care to patients and their families.

VON and Sensory Technologies are excited to continue to work together to deliver a superior model of care to those who need it most —and to pursuing new opportunities in Ontario and beyond.


Friday December 1, Whitby, ON – Whitby residents showed their overwhelming support for hospice care Thursday evening, during a fundraising event designed to help pay for community hospice services and to announce the building of a new 10-bed residential hospice.

More than 200 people attended the Handbags for Hospice event organized by the VON Durham Community Corporation.

“This event demonstrated the tremendous support of the community for hospice services including a future residential hospice,” said Chris Raynor, chair of the VON Durham Community Corporation. “This marks the beginning of an annual tradition to raise money for residential hospice services.”

Organized by 70 volunteers, Handbags for Hospice brought out a wide range of community support, including firefighters, police officers, paramedics and cadets, who helped raise money through a silent and live auction.

VON announced it will soon launch a capital campaign to raise $10 million for the new residential hospice in Whitby. The new facility is part of a larger plan to build three new hospices in the Durham region. Five other beds will be built in Clarington as well as five more in Port Perry.

“Families have come to realize their loved ones wish to end their lives at home or in a home-like setting, surrounded by their loved ones,” Raynor said. “Compassionate end-of-life care is the way to end a life well lived. We are extremely grateful to the many volunteers and donors who came out this evening to show their support.”

Three project teams are working collaboratively with the Central East LHIN to bring residential hospices to the region.


Different tastes and smells are often nostalgic, and usually conjure memories of happy times in a person’s life. Homemade brown bread; tea biscuits with jam and butter; the incredible aroma of chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven—the list goes on. But what happens when those sweet treats you once enjoyed making for family and friends is no longer feasible or safe to do on your own?

The VON Adult Day Program in Middleton and Berwick is proud to offer a Memories Baking Program, giving clients a renewed sense of independence in the kitchen and an opportunity to enhance skills they once had.

“When we do intakes with new clients, they often tell us that they used to bake, but are no longer able to do so. This program has given our clients the freedom and pleasure to bake again, but in a safe environment,” says April Bailey, Adult Day Program Coordinator

Using a Montessori approach, clients work together to make delicious treats to be used for snack time, dessert, and birthday celebrations.

“All clients play a role that is appropriate for their interests and capabilities,” Bailey says. “From reading the recipes aloud, to measuring and pouring ingredients, to mixing—there’s something for everyone to do.”

Clients are encouraged to bring in old family recipes to be shared and enjoyed with others. Since the program began in January, they have made bread, cupcakes, muffins, squares, and cookies.

“There is also an element of learning about new technologies,” Bailey adds. “For some of our clients, the idea of using an electric mixer or bread-maker is novel. Some clients are absolutely fascinated by it.”

The program was developed after a generous $2,100 donation from Artists with Artitude and support from Canadian Tire in Greenwood. Items purchased for the program include: a deep freezer; stand and hand mixers; a bread-maker; and all new baking utensils. Leftover funds will be used to replenish ingredients required for baking so clients will have plenty of material to continue to create those tasty treats.

(Photo credit: Debbie Roza-Mercier)

Accreditation Canada is an independent, not-for-profit organization that consults with experts to develop health care standards based on best practices. They accredit a wide range of health care and social services providers, including hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, clinics, and community health programs. Accreditation Canada has been helping providers improve health care quality and safety for more than 55 years.

Copyright by VON Oxford 2018. All rights reserved.