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Participant Profile - Tanja Pereira

1. What drew you to the Healing Cycle Foundation?

I learned about the Healing Cycle Foundation through the fundraising department at Heart House Hospice. As the Health and Wellness Coordinator, I thought it would be fitting for me to participate in this physically challenging fundraising event. Since Covid the Healing Cycle has allowed for running as well as cycling to be part of their fund-raising effort. I have been an avid runner for over 20 years and wanted to use my love for running to bring awareness of hospice palliative and bereavement services to my community of family and friends.

2. How many years have your ridden in the Healing Cycle Ride?

My first time was last year 2020 so this will be my second fundraising run!

3. Why do you ride for hospice/palliative care in Ontario?

I’m thrilled to once again be taking part in the virtual run for hospice palliative care in Ontario. My goal is to bring awareness specifically of Heart House Hospice services as well as hospice palliative care with regards to the value and impact it has for those who are living with dying within my community.

By creating a flyer to ask for donations it has generated an opportunity for me to have conversations around hospice palliative care, as well as share my personal connection to Heart House Hospice as the Health and Wellness Coordinator. My roll allows me to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Over the past two years of fund raising for the Healing Cycle, I have shared this information with over 50 people who now have a greater understanding of hospice palliative care services and realize the need for this type of compassionate support in their community.

As I run for the healing cycle and am in the zone, I will think about how I choose to work in a hospice to give back and support others in a holistic and compassionate way. Although challenging at times to hear the struggles and sadness some individuals have, there is a sense of peace and calm within me knowing that I play a small role in helping them to share their feelings and be connected.

For me the ride/run for the Healing Cycle is not just a fund raiser, it is a way for me to connect to my higher purpose and create a kinder and caring community where the needs of those who are end of life and/or bereaved is in the forefront, better understood, and funded.

4. Do you have a favourite memory from a previous Ride or do you have a fond memory of a hospice interaction you would be comfortable sharing?

I have so many fond memories of hospice interactions!!

I would like to share about my very first experience with a hospice. In September 2015, my father-in-law was admitted to the Dorothy Ley Hospice (DLH). Up until that point I had very little knowledge or awareness of hospice care. As a family unit, we were thoroughly impressed by the amount of kindness, compassion and care that was demonstrated to us by everyone at DLH.

I would often go to DLH to sit with my father-in-law and study my notes as at that time I had recently returned to school to study nutrition. I did not know if he was aware that I was there, except for one special day. I asked one of the staff at DLH if I could bring our dog, Mango whom my father-in-law loved. They said yes!

One of my favourite memories is when I brought my dog, Mango to the hospice and she was welcomed with smiles. As we walked down the hallway, she led me in the direction of my father-in-law’s room, like she knew where she was going! Once in the room, Mango jumped up on the bed and stretched out beside my father-in-law. At that moment, he slowly moved his hand to rest on her and he softly smiled. I was completely touched by this moment. I was so grateful to the DLH for allowing me to bring my dog into his room and let them have their moment together. When my husband arrived he couldn’t believe Mango was on his Dad’s bed, nor could he believe she was allowed in the hospice facility. When we left that evening, I told my husband “I need to work in a compassionate organization like this one day”.

In August 2019 I began working at the Heart House Hospice as the Health and Wellness Coordinator!

Click Here to support Tanja Pereira or the Heart House Hospice Team.

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