I use the hospital, so it seems to me, if you use something and they don’t charge you, you should give something back. In return I get the personal satisfaction of knowing I’ve contributed to my community.
In 2014 when Valerie Beechey was admitted to the Great War Memorial campus of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital she was placed in a semi-private room.
“At that time the hospital didn’t have a palliative care room,” said Roy Beechey, and the family soon chose to move Valerie. “There was just so much traffic with our family visiting, it made sense to move her into a private room.”
Valerie had been admitted because of complications stemming from her long battle with cancer. She received incredible care from the doctors and nurses at the hospital according to her daughter, Katie Ladd. In the end, however the treatments she endured took their toll on her body and she passed away in room 202 at the Perth campus of PSFDH on September 1, 2014.
Valerie was according to her family an extraordinary woman who brought out the best in the people who knew her…and she had a constant flow of close family visitors. A fourth-generation nurse, she had started her career as a neonatal nurse in Toronto. Children and youth were her passion; she even established two residential programs for troubled adolescents in the second half of her career.
“After my mom passed away, we felt that really what the area needed, was a palliative care room. A space that was big enough to accommodate a family, a space equipped with a coffee machine, a microwave, and a separate washroom. A big enough room where you could close the door and say what you needed to say comfortably and in private,” said Ladd.
Working with the Great War Memorial Foundation, the Beechey family set about making a palliative care room a reality.
Almost exactly a year after Valerie had passed, Roy’s $25,000 donation coupled with assistance from the then soon to close Dignity House Hospice, in Perth, saw the opening of the first palliative care room at the Perth campus in honour of Valerie Beechey.
Thanks to Roy and his family’s initiative there is now one palliative care room available at each campus of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital. It was the start of a beautiful relationship!
Since that time Roy has been a staunch supporter of the hospital, making generous donations every year for various pieces of equipment that the hospital has needed. Each donation is in memory of Valerie and informed by her passion for children and youth. To date Roy has donated more than $150,000 to the Great War Memorial campus of PSFDH.
“Roy is a fabulous donor. He likes to know what our greatest needs are, and he’s very specific about where he wants his money to go,” said Margot Hallam, executive director of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital Foundation.
The “son of a milkman” as Roy likes to describe himself, he grew up with an ethic that valued giving back to the community. His parents he explained, volunteered their time to various organizations, and he regards it a responsibility as a community member. While Roy currently lives in Arden, he regards Perth as his community and expects that one day he’ll move into town.
“I use the hospital, so it seems to me, if you use something and they don’t charge you, you should give something back,” said Roy. “In return I get the personal satisfaction of knowing I’ve contributed to my community.”