Community Care volunteer receives June Callwood award

By Lindsay Advocate

Erin Attard with her husband, Charlie Attard.

Members from Community Care City of Kawartha Lakes Hospice Services attended the Hospice Palliative Care Ontario’s Annual Conference on April 23 to celebrate a prestigious award given to one of its Hospice Services volunteers.

Erin Attard, a long-standing CCCKL volunteer, was the proud recipient of the June Callwood Award, according to a media release. This award was established in 1994 by the Hospice Association of Ontario, now Hospice Palliative Care Ontario, to acknowledge and thank outstanding hospice volunteers throughout Ontario.

Erin Attard has been part of Community Care City of Kawartha Lakes Hospice Services since July 2013 and has donated more than 700 hours of her time. She leads the Healing after Suicide Loss group as well as supports teenagers in the school setting who are struggling with suicide grief. Erin is a strong advocate for suicide prevention efforts in the community, and participates in the World Suicide Prevention Day events held at the Community Care Hospice Labyrinth Garden in September of each year. In response to the current overdose crisis in community, Erin has also been instrumental in co-facilitating the Healing after Overdose Loss group, which meets monthly. Hospice Services truly appreciates the time and caring spirit Erin brings to the volunteer team.

“Erin truly exemplifies our approach to care for our clients with her compassion and gentle manner. She is a warm and caring individual who is client focused and a real gift to our community,” says Janice Craig, Hospice Bereavement Coordinator, Community Care City of Kawartha Lakes Hospice Services. 

For Attard, it has been a deeply personal journey in working with Hospice.

“Upon the death of my daughter to suicide in 2011, CCCKL Hospice and Grief Support provided myself and my family a safe place to process our grief and trauma. There was no specific support for a suicide loss at that time and we were very alone and isolated. I realized as I made my journey through grief and participated in the various grief programs offered to me that I needed to be a part of this wonderful, caring organization. CCCKL Hospice recognized the need for this type of support in our community and shortly after I had completed some training I started to facilitate a Healing after Suicide Loss group. That was nine years ago,” Attard says.

Last fall after identifying another need, she says the organization started the Healing after Overdose Loss group. “I feel that it is so important that individuals and families have a safe, non judgmental place to come together to share stories of their loved ones and begin to process and heal. My daughter’s last gift to me was the gift of listening and the ability to be present with others through their grief journey.”

Attard says she is “humbled and so honoured to have been recognized and to have received the June Callwood Award. It reaffirms that my story and my passion is making a difference and helping others in my community.”

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