New space at palliative care centre will provide 'a little added comfort'

An Island man says a new insulated outdoor room at the Provincial Palliative Care Centre will be an addition that would have made his late wife proud. 
Peter McCrady stands in front of what will be a new outdoor room at the provincial Palliative Care Centre. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

A P.E.I. man says a planned new insulated outdoor room at the Provincial Palliative Care Centre in Charlottetown will be an addition that would have made his late wife proud. 

Peter McCrady's wife Jessie McCrady spent the last few months of her life in 2013 fundraising in support of end-of-life care, including sales of a cookbook that raised $30,000 for palliative care on P.E.I.

He said new year-round retreat on the centre property for those in care and their loved ones will be a way to honour his wife and her work.  

"She kept a very positive outlook on life," said McCrady. "And she was able to do that by concentrating on some of these little projects she picked up along the way, where she could do something for somebody else — so the least I could do was try to carry that torch on a little farther."

'A little added comfort'

McCrady has been preparing the project for the past few years with fellow members of the Parkdale Sherwood Lions Club, as well as the Construction Association of P.E.I.

Peter's wife Jessie McCrady spent the final months of her life in 2013 fundraising to support palliative care in P.E.I. (CBC)

With so many helping hands, his idea blossomed from a small gazebo to a fully-insulated and heated room complete with a stove for people to warm food or make a cup of tea. 

"It's just a little added comfort," said McCrady, adding the new space allow people to better enjoy the beautiful gardens that surround the facility. 

"They can look at the nice things we have around here, rather than thinking of the suffering they're probably going through these last few days — it takes their mind off of that type of thing."

Those involved in the project say it was no trouble getting others to help. 

"Everyone we've reached out to, they've given more than we've asked — it's been really amazing," said Colin McQuillan, a contractor with Fitzgerald and Snow who designed the new structure. 

"I'll be pretty proud to see it all come together."

'We have tremendous strength'

McCrady said the five-by-seven metre gazebo will feature cedar shingles on the exterior, windows on three sides, and be fully accessible to wheelchairs and wheeled beds. 

Sam Sanderson, general manager of the construction association, estimates that between donated time and materials the project is worth about $70,000. 

"We have tremendous strength when we all come together and do something positive," said Sanderson.

Work on the project is set to wrap this weekend.  

"It's something that's very close to me," said McCrady. "Seeing this place and what it can do for patients for their last period of time here … palliative care is not a place where people finish out their lives, it's where they can enjoy the last few months and days that they have here in this life." 

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About the Author

Jessica Doria-Brown


Jessica Doria-Brown is a videojournalist with CBC in P.E.I. Originally from Toronto, Jessica has worked for CBC in Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, and Ontario.


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