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SASHA Provides Empowering and Caring Hospice Support

St. Albert Sturgeon Hospice Association (SASHA) provides empowerment and support to persons and caregivers affected by life-limiting illness. SASHA also advocates in the community for respectful end-of-life care services and education.

The roots of SASHA go back to 2011, when several local churches joined together find ways to better serve the community. Discussions among community leaders revealed a need – and overwhelming support – for a local hospice. A steering committee was formed to put this initiative in motion and the Association was formally incorporated in 2014. Foyer Lacombe was opened in 2017 by Covenant Health. Today, this grassroots organization is proud to provide programs that support end-of-life patients and their caregivers.

“The general public may think that hospice care is only for patients when end-of-life is imminent,” says Marcie Mazurenko, Executive Director. “Although this can be true, hospice care is more about quality of life for the patient and their family on their journey. Another misconception for caregivers is that having to move their loved one into hospice can feel like they have failed. However, this is far from the truth. Hospice care is designed to support the patient, with comfort as a priority. This often comes as a relief to their caregivers, knowing their loved one is getting the care and compassion they need in hospice. Having their loved one cared for by others allows for the family to spend quality time with their loved one versus doing the hands on caregiving.”

There are plenty of opportunities for the community to be involved in this important work. Opportunities are open for both volunteers and donors.

“We are looking for people who are caring, compassionate and want to make a difference in their community,” says Mazurenko of SASHA volunteers. “Often, our volunteers have had experience with the end-of-life journey of a loved one, but this is not a requirement.”

She continues, “As a non-profit organization, we rely upon the generous support of the communities we serve to help fund our programs and services. Donations go towards funding programs like Compassionate Care, Compassion Bags, Hospice Teas and Connect Café. SASHA also fundraises to provide comfort items to the residents of Foyer Lacombe. Some of the projects include a new spa room for bathing, recliner and sleeper chairs, a bariatric bed so family can cuddle with the person who is ill and new TVs for each hospice room. The programs are offered to individuals at no cost. Our volunteer board of directors is continually looking for opportunities to grow and expand our programs, as well.”

The community of St. Albert can help by working with SASHA to create unique fundraisers or discuss ideas for new services.

The loss of life is a profound event at any age. It affects the patient in care, their friends and their family. Organizations like SASHA make a difference by providing much-needed support. To learn more, volunteer or donate, visit SASHA online, on Facebook and on Instagram.