For years, Sheila Nayar and her family struggled to cope with her significant health issues.
Getting to endless doctor’s appointments and dialysis treatments was wearing down her husband and daughter.
“They had exhausted themselves taking care of me,” Nayar said Tuesday from the lobby of The Hospice of Windsor & Essex County.
Then Nayar found refuge in the wellness programs offered by Hospice and her daughter, Anisha, saw her mother’s outlook transform.
“I couldn’t believe the change in her whole attitude,” Anisha said.
A pharmacist and Shoppers Drug Mart franchisee, Anisha shared the importance of the Wellness Centre with 25 other local Shoppers franchisees.
Together, they’ve thrown their support behind the effort as the title sponsor of the 20th annual Hospice LifeWalk set for June 12th at the Ciociaro Club.
All funds raised from the event support patient and family programs offered by Hospice. Last year’s event brought in $65,000.
“This place really is a bridge between illness and life,” said Sheila who underwent a kidney transplant in 2006. “I come as often as I can to do some of the things that healthy people do.”
Sheila discovered the wellness programs through a volunteer driver who helped get her from Tecumseh to Windsor three times a week for dialysis treatments.
That was her routine for almost four years until she received a transplant.
“I was ill for a long, long time,” the 65-year-old said. “Even before dialysis I was ill for seven, eight years.”
She started attending the drop-in sessions at Hospice where she could listen and share her own story.
“What they say, it makes you strong,” she said.
Then she tried the yoga and art classes.
“I think talking about their stories make you not feel so alone,” Anisha said. “The Yoga calmed her and helped her get back into a positive space.”
Anisha, who works at the Tecumseh Mall Shoppers, saw supporting those programs as “as an opportunity to pay it forward. We all wanted to do something for the community.”
Shoppers’ employees will be encouraged to participate in the five-kilometre walk, run or bike and each store will fundraise during the month of May.
Carol Derbyshire, executive director of Hospice, called the partnership “innovative because we are taking our lead from Sheila, whose story is the reason we’re here today.”
Derbyshire said the Wellness Centre offers 47 programs to patients dealing with life-threatening illness.