The Inaugural G.E.N.I.E. Ride

January 2023

In partnership with Essex-Windsor EMS, our Hospice was proud to have launched The G.E.N.I.E. Program (Granting Exceptional N’ Impactful Experiences) earlier this year. This program offers the opportunity for patients receiving Hospice care, whether in Hospice Residences or in their own home, to request special trips or outings.

The G.E.N.I.E. itself is a revamped and updated ambulance. Donated by Essex-Windsor EMS, the vehicle has been customized to provide safe and accessible rides to patients. In addition to the donation of the vehicle itself, members of the EMS team also volunteer their time to drive Hospice patients and families to these memorable moments.  

Being able to offer these types of rides means our patients may be able to attend one more family reunion, spend a few hours at a local park, or even visit their family home one last time – creating a memorable experience for them and their loved ones.

We’ve officially had our very first “rider” and we couldn’t have asked for a more memorable event, or a more remarkable passenger.

Meet Eddie, who is currently a cancer patient at the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre, and is also under the care of Dr. Sheri Bergeron, one of our dedicated Hospice physicians, and our Hospice Medical Director.

Eddie has been part of the Windsor-Essex Masonic organization since 1997, and he was recently invited to participate in the installation of the new Master for his Mother Lodge Great Western No.47. He was proud to describe his history and accomplishments with the organization. Eddie was able to achieve status as the District Deputy Grand Master, where he served as the Grand Master’s representative in the Windsor area. This progression usually takes 20 to 24 years or longer…but he did it in just seven years!

“Most of the Masons didn’t know I was in the hospital, but it was so important for to me to attend. It was going to be one of the largest meetings we have had at the Lodge in a long time, they were even expecting the Provincial Grand Master to attend,” says Eddie. Eddie went on to explain that this is the top Mason in all of Ontario, and it’s quite an honour for him to come down to Windsor.

“I also wanted to present a very special gift to the outgoing Master of the Great Western Lodge No.47 – a fellow Mason who I am honoured to call a close friend.” Eddie was excited to gift the outgoing Master a very special Masonic cane, which was hand-carved by a fellow Mason. The cane is embedded on all sides with culturally significant icons of Masonic membership, and Eddie wanted his friend to have this cane, but he didn’t think he would be able to go, due to his illness.

Eddie was talking to Dr., Bergeron, who mentioned the G.E.N.I.E. Program. “That sounded like the perfect solution, I could travel safely to the meeting and be in the care of professional EMS workers the whole time!”

It turned out that was exactly what happened. “I was so proud to be the very first passenger in the G.E.N.I.E.,” said Eddie. “I think I may have been a surprise to the EMS team of Vicki and Melissa, since I was properly dressed for a Masonic meeting of this calibre in full white tie and tails!” Dr. Bergeron was also on site when Eddie was being transferred into the G.E.N.I.E. vehicle.

“They came into my room to get me, and I was just amazed when we arrived at the vehicle. It’s just so perfectly customized and comfortable. It looks like it came right out of the factory, specially built for this purpose! Everyone was so careful and gentle with me, and made the whole evening easy for all of us.”

The G.E.N.I.E. brought Eddie right to the doors of the Masonic Hall, where he was received by the District Deputy Grand Master, and the outgoing Master, and transferred into a wheelchair to move into the event. “We were there from 5:00 PM until almost 10:30 PM that evening, and there was the G.E.N.I.E., waiting to take me back! As I was being wheeled out of the Lodge room, I got double ‘thumbs-up’ from almost every member in the room as I passed by…that was so special. I know I thanked my ‘ride home’ team of Chris and Melissa so much. I hope they know how much this meant to me to be able to attend.”

“I can’t tell you how very honoured I was to be your inaugural passenger. Hospice truly granted a very personal and important wish for me.”

Our Hospice Vision is to be “A specialized and recognized team delivering memorable care.” We are so honoured to have been there for Eddie, and so grateful to our partners at Essex-Windsor EMS as well as our many donors who helped make this happen. This support, teamwork and dedication – it is The Hospice Way!