SURREY — Surrey Hospice Society welcomed Beth Kish as its new executive director this summer.
Prior to joining the Surrey organization, Kish was executive director at Foothills Country Hospice Society for two-and-ahalf years, an eight-bed hospice located just outside of Calgary.
Coming from a smaller town, Kish says she knows she faces a big challenge when it comes to raising funds, which is how the organization offers services for free.
"It's definitely busier and bigger and more challenging to raise funds (in Surrey)," Kish said. "It's definitely a challenge. It's harder to raise money here than it was (at the Foothills hospice). There, everybody knew everybody and there wasn't as many charities competing for that same donated dollar."
Kish said the Surrey hospice does a lot more counselling than her previous post and, overall, is a larger operation.
Surrey Hospice has 20 beds located at Laurel Place and 10 beds in Surrey Memorial Hospital across the street. The hospice also does home visits.
"At any given time, we can have 50-plus palliative patients," Kish said.
And the volunteer base is huge. Kish said the organization couldn't run without its more than 150 volunteers.
The hospice also has a thrift store, located at 7138 King George Blvd., which it runs in partnership with the Surrey Fire Fighters' Charitable Society.
As executive director, Kish said one of her goals is to spread awareness and educate the community on what hospice care really is.
"This kind of care is so wonderful in the fact that when people are given a terminal diagnosis, and usually will be offered hospice with three or less months to live, it really is a place that they can go that is much gentler. It's not as hospital-like... I often hear from families of patients saying, 'I finally just get to be his wife, or the husband, I'm not a pill pusher, I'm not having to organize and clean up.' They get to have that very, very special time together."
The hospice is gearing up for its annual gala, set for Oct. 19 at Eaglequest Coyote Creek Golf & Country Club. The event is the hospice's largest fundraising event of the year.
The evening, dubbed One Enchanted Evening, will include a champagne reception, dinner and entertainment, and there are more than 100 prizes to be given away. Tickets are $95 or $690 for a table of eight.
For tickets and more information, visit www.surreyhospice.com or call 604-584-7006.
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