The Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association (AHPCA) is delighted to launch the Dr. Donna Wilson Caregiver Award, which recognizes the vital importance of informal palliative caregivers across Alberta. Nominate a deserving caregiver you know!
How does an award like this originate? Why is the award named after AHPCA board member, Dr. Donna Wilson? Who is donor Walter Burchnall and why did he create an award honouring unpaid caregivers?
Walter and Donna met soon after he began dating her mother, Emma. Donna was delighted that Emma, widowed five years prior, had a good friend and companion again. Walter and Emma were together for five years; the last three years were a time of increasing illness for Emma, with Walter and Emma’s children providing care for her. Walter was wonderful to Emma both before and during her illness. Donna considers Walter as her stepdad and he has become a member of the family.
When Walter became very ill in 2016, Donna was able to help him in hospital and afterward. It was a small price to pay in return for the love and care he had provided Emma. Walter is a genuine, kind, and caring person. Donna says that it is a joy to help him and he is so appreciative of the help.
The award should really be named after Walter, according to Donna, as he provided such good care for her mom. Walter though, named the award after Donna, as he thinks that nurses are not often recognized enough for all they do to help ill and dying people.
Donna has been helping ill and dying people throughout her nursing career. In the last 25 years she has focused her research and advocacy on palliative care and the care of older people. Most people who pass away are older people. They are at great risk of not having healthy friends and family to help them when they need help the most – at the end of life. Donna believes that it is very special to help someone who is in need.
AHPCA is happy to work with donors to help create an award, scholarship, or program that furthers the development of quality hospice palliative and end-of-life care for all Albertans. If you are interested in creating a legacy project similar to Walter’s, please contact Jennifer Elliott at 403 206 9938 or [email protected].