‘I know she’s proud:’ Hospice named after late Rose Daschuk opens in Prince Albert

Don Daschuk, husband of the hospice’s namesake Rose Daschuk, speaks at the grand opening of the Rose Garden Hospice in Prince Albert on Aug. 29, 2023. – Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald

Rose Daschuk had a personality just like the hospice – welcoming and loving.

“My mom was bigger than life. If you talked to anybody that knew her, she lit up a room and she was amazing,” said Rose’s daughter, Marina Mitchell.

Rose died in 2007 at 49 years old, about a year and a half after being diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. It was then that her family looked into the need for hospice care in Prince Albert, a comfortable and homey space for terminally ill patients.

Fast forward 15 years, the Rose Garden Hospice is ready to welcome its first guests.

“It just was a feeling like I have actually never really felt before. I just felt all the love that was here, the love in the building, the people,” described Mitchell about cutting the ribbon.

“I know she’s proud, proud of everyone who has had a hand in helping build this.”

Contributors of the Rose Garden Hospice cut a ribbon to open the building on Aug. 29, 2023. – Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald

Mitchell, who led fundraising efforts, described the Rose Garden Hospice as a community project. She said she would be speaking for hours if she listed off every person or group who has donated over the years.

The hospice will be ready for its first guest in mid-September. The 10-bed building features spacious bedrooms and bathrooms, a cozy living room with a fireplace and a large kitchen.

It’s located on a 10-acre parcel of land, donated by Fred Trach, at 500 38th St W.

The newly-opened Rose Garden Hospice has a large living area with a fireplace that’s next to the kitchen. – Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald

Around the time that the organization was eyeing construction, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. This created plenty of challenges, especially around the skyrocketing price of building materials.

A single sheet of OSB went from $12 to about $100, explained Don Daschuk. The building committee had to re-work its plans to fit the budget.

The hospice had a fundraising goal of $4 million. Plenty of funds streamed in through donations from local families, doctors and entrepreneurs, from the Daschuk family themselves, and from campaigns such as the Econo Lumber 2×6 initiative.

“My mom, for years, made 13 dozen perogies every day and sold them and that money went to the hospice,” said Don, Rose’s husband.

“My sister and her had countless garage sales to raise money for the hospice, both here and in Arizona, and sadly my sister passed away before the hospice was completed.”

Don said after Rose’s death, his family toured hospices in Ontario. They wanted to model the future Prince Albert hospice off one in Burlington, which is community-based, he said.

Don said getting written support from the provincial government was a difficult undertaking. He credited MLA Joe Hargrave for advocating for the project.

All of those difficulties were worth it, he said, knowing that end-of-life patients can spend their last moments in a comfortable space.

“Our journey was like many others who have a similar diagnosis – in an out of doctor’s offices, treatments at the cancer centre and many trips to emergency at the Vic Hospital. Sometimes, we were able to go home, but quite often, it meant a stay in the hospital,” said Don.

“I spent many days and nights in the hospital with not much sleep.”

One of the many donors was philanthropist and Canadian Tire owner Malcolm Jenkins.

He raised money for the hospice in several ways, whether it was teaming up with the Broadway North Theatre Company to donate a portion of ticket sales or selling thousands of boxes of Toffifee at Christmas time.

“There were probably 50 different things, and they’ve all added up to this,” he said.

According to its website, the Rose Garden Hospice will be available to terminally ill patients who have less than three months to live.