Toronto's Casey House Hospice Launches A New Vision!

June Callwood

The Lovely June Callwood, Founder of Casey House

Over 20 years ago, I found myself in the basement of a house on Isabella Street in downtown Toronto, handwriting receipts for donations given to a fairly new project called Casey House Hospice . I guess you could call it survivor guilt but by the mid to late 80’s I had a lot of friends who had been lost to HIV/AIDS. I became involved in fundraising for Casey House, sat on the Board and in the early-90’s was President of the Board of Directors of Casey House. I learned so much and was motivated by the work and words of the great June Callwood , who felt that death should be a “velvet experience”.

I was lucky enough to be part of a group that welcomed Princess Diana  to the house: not many people know this about Diana, Princess of Wales  but she was not only strikingly beautiful but conversant in sign language (ASL ) and physically touched the residents at a time when many of their families would not.

The work that has been done over the years by great staff and volunteers has been amazing. Casey house expanded into a Home Hospice. Art consultant Paul Conway and I chaired the first “Art with Heart”  event.

Last night we attended the “Casey House Snowball “. It was a great event but the sad message is the battle is not over and infection rates have been rising. A few weeks ago I participated in the video attached and a Casey House Capital Campaign was launched to build a new Casey House that would add  a Day Centre to the Home Hospice and Residence.

I would ask that you please keep it in mind as a charity that you would like to support. I know that it has and always will be that special place that June Callwood and the original volunteers first conceived. The work is not over and your help is needed.

Please take a couple of minutes to watch this video.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8IDFsbAgLI[/youtube]

3 Responses

  1. R.J.

    Richard
    I never knew about your work with Casey House and was touched by your comments. Thank you!

    1. Richard Silver Post author

      As I look back it was such a wonderful experience. I feel very lucky to have spent the time with some amazingly committed people.

  2. Trish Bongard Godfrey

    Richard, my grandfather, Gordon Bongard, grew up in that amazing landmark house at Jarvis and Isabella. I guess it was once known as Johnson House, after his mother.  I have always been pleased that it is being used for Casey House. My grandfather was blinded at age 18 by mustard gas in WW1. He was a beneficiary of the early efforts of the CNIB, and appreciated the support he had his whole life from them.  He would be 113 now, and he’d be pleased to know that this magnificent building was being used to care for people. I hope that they retain some of the heritage and character of the building and its place on the street.

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