Halifax hospice inspired by Audrey Parker to open soon
Audrey Parker would have been 58 years old on Wednesday.
The activist for end-of-life care died last November in a medically assisted death after a battle with Stage 4 cancer.
Work is still continuing on two projects about which Parker cared deeply, with one almost complete.
The CEO of Hospice Halifax gives a tour of what Parker advocated tirelessly for before she died.
Construction on this hospice for palliative care will be finished in about 10 days.
“She'd be delighted,” said Gordon Neal, the CEO of Hospice Halifax.“I wish she could see it, I knew she wanted to see it.”
There are 10 patient rooms, each with either a view of the water or of the garden planned outside.
Among the many rooms is a large Cape Breton-style kitchen for family gatherings and plenty of spaces for anyone who needs a quiet moment.
More than $6 million was raised to make this happen and a lot of that is thanks to Parker's activism.
“Because of what she did with her end of life, brought attention to end of life, not just to hospice, but to end of life,” said Neal.
The first Nova Scotians to receive end of life care here are expected to start arriving later this spring.
What will be Nova Scotia's first hospice is just part of Parker's legacy.
Before she died, she was also pushing for changes to Canadian law for those seeking a medically assisted death.
“People like me who've already been assessed and approved, are dying earlier than necessary, because of this poorly thought-out law,” Parker said in a video recorded last year.
It is Parker's final message to Canadians -- released after her death.
Her fight to allow Canadians approved for medically assisted death to give an advance directive in case declining health takes away their ability to give final consent.
That’s an option Parker didn't have.
“We have 17,000 Canadians who have already said, we want Aud's amendment,” said Parker’s friend Kimberly King.
King says those left behind to carry on Parker's work aren't giving up.
“This may have to take not a legislative route, it may have to end up taking a route through the courts,” King said. “This is a fight that's not over yet.”
King is filming a video for an upcoming event to honour Parker with a posthumous award.
It's called the “Because You Can Award” -- a motto Parker lived by, which will come to life when the hospice opens its doors to the public next month.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.