A Very Special Gift – Cindy’s Story
Full Circle For Rotarian
As the lead referral hospital for patients from across BC’s southern interior, guests of JoeAnna’s House are primarily from outside the central Okanagan. Which is why the Rotary Club of Salmon Arm – Daybreak chose to give $20,000 to support the build and opening of JoeAnna’s House. Many of the club’s members had direct experience travelling to KGH for medical care. Supporting JoeAnna’s House was important to them, knowing that it would provide a safe place for those from their hometown to stay close to loved ones while they were in care at KGH.
Just a few weeks after it opened, Cindy Howes, a member of the Rotary Club of Salmon Arm – Daybreak, became ill with what was originally thought to be pneumonia. Vibrant and healthy at 56, it was a shock for Cindy and her family when she was transferred to KGH and learned that she had stage IV lung cancer.
Cindy’s sister, Nicki, arrived at JoeAnna’s House on New Year’s Eve. Over the next few weeks, the staff welcomed eight members of Cindy’s family to JoeAnna’s House including her son, daughter and partner, brother and sister. They flew in from across Western Canada. Travelling from Saskatchewan, Cindy’s elderly parents were the last to arrive.
The family stayed close to Cindy in the coming weeks, as her condition continued to decline. On January 21, she passed away.
“Being able to stay at JoeAnna’s House and be with Cindy in her final days was such an incredible gift for all of us,” says Nicki, “It was home for those weeks. I worked from my laptop at the kitchen banquette or sitting in the living room, and coordinated meals for my family. The most important part was being able to walk and see Cindy whenever she needed us, or we needed her.”
Cindy was so proud that she and her fellow Rotarians played a part in making JoeAnna’s House possible,” reflects Nicki. “It’s a beautiful part of her story and we will do everything we can to continue her legacy of supporting JoeAnna’s House.
To everyone who gave to make this incredible home a reality, thank you for this gift. It is a very, very special place.