New holiday event shines a light on love and loss

Light Up Hospice to remember loved ones + support vital community programs

Canadian Tire Port Alberni manager Erin Van Bergen joins Teresa Ludvigson, Executive Director Alberni Valley Hospice Society, and AVHS Board Member Gerri Sing in preparing for Light Up Hospice, a fundraiser and opportunity for residents to honour the memory of loved ones this holiday season.

Canadian Tire Port Alberni manager Erin Van Bergen joins Teresa Ludvigson, Executive Director Alberni Valley Hospice Society, and AVHS Board Member Gerri Sing in preparing for Light Up Hospice, a fundraiser and opportunity for residents to honour the memory of loved ones this holiday season.

For those who’ve lost a loved one, the holidays can be an especially difficult time – even more so this year as our connections are more limited due to COVID.

Recognizing that a little light and positivity can be a powerful thing, Alberni Valley Hospice has launched a brand new event to celebrate the season, and support vital end-of-life care, counselling and grief support at the same time.

Light Up Hospice brings the community together to raise much-needed funds while providing a heartwarming way to honour the memory of a friend or family member.

You’re invited to visit the Hospice website, select items from the list of lights, trees, wreaths and other beautiful holiday decorations, and make an “In Memory” donation in remembrance of your loved ones.

The official light up is Dec. 1 and the bright festive “In Memory” décor will adorn the exterior of the Alberni Valley Hospice Society Community Office at 2579 10th Ave. for the month of Dec. Donors and sponsors can visit the building throughout the month to view their lit up purchases though out the day and evening.

Planned as an annual event, décor will be added each year, then once we can safely gather again, a community light-up event will kick off the annual festivities, says board member Gerri Sing.

A festive celebration to answer an urgent need

Like so many community organizations, Alberni Valley Hospice was forced to cancel several of their usual fundraisers due to COVID-19. That’s created significant challenges for the local not-for-profit that relies on community support to provide its vital services.

Light Up Hospice will also help raise community awareness of the array of programs and services the not-for-profit provides.

While people often associate Alberni Valley Hospice with end-of-life care at Ty Watson House, they also do so much more.

“Connections often begin long before that. In addition to end-of-life care, we also offer other services for individuals and their families that people may not be aware of,” Gerri says. “Equally important are the people who are left behind, and we have counselling and bereavement groups that can help.”

The holidays can add to the sense of loss and loneliness, but finding a meaningful way to remember a loved one can be healing. “It gives them another way to bring that person into their life,” she says.

“It’s also important for people to know that regardless of whether someone has come through Ty Watson House or not, our services are free and open to everyone,” Gerri says.

“If you’re grieving, know you’re not alone, and that it’s perfectly OK to feel the way you feel.”

Alberni Valley Hospice Society Board member Gerri Sing and Executive Director Teresa Ludvigson join Jan and Karen Lavertu, owners of West Coast Home Hardware Port Alberni in preparing for Light Up Hospice. The official light up is Dec. 1, and the decorations will adorn the AVHS community office throughout the month.

Alberni Valley Hospice Society Board member Gerri Sing and Executive Director Teresa Ludvigson join Jan and Karen Lavertu, owners of West Coast Home Hardware Port Alberni in preparing for Light Up Hospice. The official light up is Dec. 1, and the decorations will adorn the AVHS community office throughout the month.

Catch the light-up throughout December

Donations toward lights, wreaths or decorations are welcome at all levels with a tax receipt provided for donations of $20+, Gerri says, noting that none of Hospice’s events and programs would be possible without community-minded businesses and individuals right here in the Valley.

Wayne and Suzan Coulson’s Coulson Group and Kamal and Suki Sanghera’s San Group both stepped up as Light Up title sponsors, along with supporting sponsors Mike Hudson, from Port Boat House, Don Ferster from Jim’s Clothes Closet, and Larry Spencer.

Additionally, Canadian Tire’s John Weaver and West Coast Home Hardware’s Jan Lavertu are both helping with lights, decor and props.

“We need community more than ever, and want to acknowledge this invaluable support – without these locally minded businesses, Light Up would not be possible.”

To contribute to this year’s inaugural Light Up Hospice, visit albernihospice.ca. You can also donate directly through CanadaHelps.org

Philanthropy