Your 2020 gift: Helen Hart’s Story


Dear Donors and Friends of VON Oxford & Sakura House:

I want to tell you about my Mom, Helen. She loved her garden. She loved to chat. And, she loved to help others.

Her connection to Sakura House was very special. For almost ten years, my Mom would go and sit with patients. If patients wanted to be read to, she would read. If they wanted to talk, she would listen. She would often sit with patients through the night. Staff would call and she would always come. Her routine was to arrive around eight o’clock and she would stay with a patient until the morning.

My Mom knew how important hospice care was for patients and families. She often spoke of how special the nurses, doctors and her fellow volunteers were. And, she knew how important donors were too. She would be proud to know her story is inspiring others to give. I hope her story will inspire you to make a gift today.

When my Mom’s health started to worsen, she knew where she would go. She knew she would go to Sakura House. She wasn’t afraid. It was like coming home.

I will never forget her last birthday. I remember walking into Sakura on December 3rd and hearing music. I walked down to the Great Room and found my Mom, surrounded by family, staff and volunteers.

Word had gotten out that my Mom loved playing the piano and listening to music. So, one of the nurses had taken it upon herself to invite two students to play for my Mom on her birthday. They had wheeled her bed down right down next to the piano. I could see the joy on her face.

When we were wheeling her bed back to her room after the party, she was eating her birthday cake with her hands. I tried to give her a fork, but she said “I don’t care!” and chuckled all the way back to her room. This moment of joy was made possible because of donors like you.

My Mom spent six weeks at Sakura, leading up to Christmas. The nurses would pop in and share stories of their times together. It was a time where our family would stop in to visit when we could. And, the staff took care of us too. They made sure you had a muffin or cookie or a bowl of soup. Everything was homemade too. There was a different soup each day and it was made with love. There’s a lot to be said for that. Those small things really made a difference.

I saw nurses in uniform, but they had a slower pace to them. It wasn’t like a hospital. You don’t have the buzzers. It was like a hotel room. I found it so welcoming and so did Mom.

Sakura House provided compassionate end-of-life care at no cost to our family 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 were there to help when we needed them most. I did not realize that Hospice care is covered only partially by government funding so they need to raise more than $600,000 each year to cover the gap. That is why your donation is so important. Especially this year. The pandemic has cancelled fundraising events and impacted memorial donations and your help is needed.

On Christmas Eve, we knew my Mom could hear us. She was asleep. We told her that her work here is done and it was okay to leave. We didn’t want to see her go but we wanted to give her the permission to leave. My Mom died on December 24, 2019 at eight o’clock that night. I am comforted knowing that she was at peace. She felt at home. I am positive her spirit lives on. She touched a lot of people. They will remember her.

This holiday season, please consider a gift to VON Oxford Sakura House in honour of my Mom’s passion to help others. Her time spent with patients in those wee hours of the night will never be forgotten. Thank you for considering a gift this holiday season.


Doug Hart

Son of volunteer and patient Helen Hart

P.S. You can help make a family’s life a little easier with a gift to Sakura House. Your donation is needed now to give comfort to patients and their families. Donate by midnight on December 31st.

Our offices are closed for the holidays on December 25th & 28th and January 1st.

In order to receive your 2020 charitable income tax receipt, please make your year-end gift online by midnight on December 31st  If you are sending in a cheque, please ensure your envelope is date-stamped by Canada Post on the 31st.

You can also donate easily and securely via credit card at:

VON Oxford:

VON Sakura House:

Thank you for supporting VON Oxford! If you need immediate assistance, please call Shannon at 226-888-7259 or email our team at

We hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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.