Local doctor gives $25K to Rose Garden Hospice

(Left to right) Ralph Boychuk and Marina Mitchell with the Rose Garden Hospice, Dr. Randy Friesen and Canadian Tire Owner Malcom Jenkins at the future site of the hospice on June 11, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

“(The hospital is) busy, it’s noisy, you don’t have privacy and nurses who are doing palliative care are doing a dozen other things at the same time.”

– Dr. Randy Friesen

Longtime Prince Albert surgeon Dr. Randy Friesen has both personal and professional reasons for his family donating $25,000 to the Rose Garden Hospice.

He stood with the hospice’s Ralph Boychuk and Marina Mitchell and Canadian Tire Owner Malcom Jenkins at the future site—which is on the corner of Marquis Road and 4th Avenue West—on Tuesday afternoon.

Eight years ago, Friesen’s wife was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She passed away three years later.

“That was for me the introduction to the world of palliative care and what matters in palliative care,” said Friesen.

He said he sees the need for the facility in his everyday work environment at the hospital.

“It’s not set up for palliative care very well. It’s busy, it’s noisy, you don’t have privacy and nurses who are doing palliative care are doing a dozen other things at the same time, so it’s difficult. When I heard that we were going to have the potential for a hospice facility in Prince Albert, I said ‘Gotta support them,’” he explained.

Mitchell said donors such as Friesen show that the community supports their goal.

“Everybody is just really excited to finally see the project coming to reality,” she said.

Mitchell emphasized the importance of a hospice in the city: “It’s just another option for people, terminally ill patients, to go to a home-like setting where they can die peacefully essentially with (their) family and close friends.”

Several others have contributed to the non-profit since it began in 2008, including the province’s annual $2 million for operating costs, the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group’s A Cause for Comfort campaign and Jenkins’ $500,000 donation.