In October, 2015, Michele and her husband Sonny left their home in Beaverdell for Kelowna General Hospital, seeking answers and treatment for a host of symptoms that had rendered Sonny increasingly ill. For six months, Michele navigated treacherous winter conditions as she made the commute from her home to KGH to be by her husband’s bedside. The thought of being separated from Sonny was inconceivable.
It was an incredibly stressful and emotional time.
Reflecting on what JoeAnna’s House will mean for people like her, Michele says;
“JoeAnna’s House will mean different things to different people. However one thing it will mean to everyone is one less thing to think about. When you’re supporting a loved one in the hospital, you are pulled in many different directions. Not having to figure out where you are going to stay lifts a part of the burden.
When someone comes to JoeAnna’s House, hopefully they will find more than a room. They will find someone to listen, to help them navigate the system, some calm in the storm. They will also find people there who are also going through similar circumstances.”
“My husband believed in giving back, and volunteered with many different organizations over the years. When someone needed help, he was always there to lend a hand. So to carry on his tradition, I want to give back. Supporting JoeAnna’s House is a way that I can help make sure that people in similar situations will not have to think, ‘Where am I going to go? Where will I stay? Who can I talk to? What will I do next?’”
Michelle never imagined that from that day in October, Sonny would never come home. He passed away from cancer in March 2016. She chose to give a gift to support JoeAnna’s House and agreed to share her story, and put a face to the many wives, sisters, daughters and grand-daughters (and husbands, brothers, sons and grandsons) who wish to remain close to their loved one’s bedside when they are at KGH.