This year, the Hon. Brian Tobin, P.C., O.C. is the honorary Chair of the 11th annual Homes for the Holidays tour. He hopes to increase awareness of the importance of palliative care and help raise additional funds for more beds at the May Court Hospice, which is now known as Hospice Care Ottawa. The popular tour supports this valued facility in Old Ottawa South, which offers free specialized care for those with a terminal illness.
Personal experience with care at the hospice is the motivator, as Brian's beloved older brother Terry had inoperable brain cancer and lived there for four months. Impressed by the compassion and support the entire family received, he praises the unheralded volunteers who provide counsel, comfort and consoling to residents and their families. Visiting Terry, he was inspired by those who live with illness and pain, while maintaining their dignity and happiness as fully and joyfully as they can. The experience changed his outlook to living in the moment and relishing time with family, friends and loved ones.
During his 22 years of political accomplishments in a country he calls the greatest in the world, his tenacity and diplomacy earned him the nickname of Captain Canada. Currently working within the private sector, he is the new vice-chair of BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. For much-needed down time, he relaxes with his wife Jodean and their three children Heather, Adam and Jack at the family retreat on the Rideau River.
WHAT WAS THE HOSPICE EXPERIENCE LIKE FOR YOUR BROTHER? The calming environment was home for Terry, our family and visiting friends. We could direct our destinies there - prepare food in the kitchen, bring him outside on the balcony, in the garden, give him a party and remember stories that made everybody laugh - especially Terry.
AS HONORARY CHAIR WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE TOUR? This is a cause close to my heart and I am looking forward to the media event launch on Oct. 7. I want to talk to people to make them aware that this facility provides extraordinary care to patients and their families at such an important stage of their life.
WHAT PART OF THE TOUR ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO? Visiting the holiday-themed, beautifully decorated homes with the media and other representatives of the May Court Hospice - and seeing first-hand how all the hard work of the volunteers has paid off.
The 2013 Tour date is Nov. 15-17. Visit ottawaathome.ca for updates and video.