Judy Kedwell and Lloyd Andrew Barrett lived two very different lives but in the end, the two Victoria residents ended up with the same goal — bringing attention to palliative and end-of-life care.
Kedwell and Barrett have bequeathed a total of $3.8 million to Victoria Hospice — the largest estate gift it has ever received in its history — to help with end-of-life care on Vancouver Island.
“This will go a long way in helping us do what we do,” said Rob Gareau, president of the Victoria Hospice Society. “There's always need in the community for bereavement services, for hospice and end-of-life care and this will go a long way with helping us with that.”
Born in Vancouver, Judy Kedwell was described by her family as “kinetic energy personified.”
Kedwell attended York House School and the University of British Columbia and went on to pursue a career in banking. Years later, she went on to run a financial planning business with her husband.
She was known for her funny stories, long to-do lists, and love of pets.
Kedwell was diagnosed with cancer, and in her final six months spent time at Victoria Hospice. It is here that she encountered a hospice nurse, who asked Kedwell if she would like her hair washed.
She never forgot the kindness of that nurse and in her final days, decided to bequeath $1.4 million to the hospice, the largest gift at the time.
Kedwell passed away in November in her home.
“My hope is that there is a way to expand the facility. It can't happen unless gifts like this trigger something. Everything that happens following this event will enhance the value of hospice in the community,” said Bill Anderson, Kedwell's brother.
Shortly after that gift, Victoria Hospice received another $2.4 million but from a different estate — that of Barrett.
Barrett was born in PEI in 1923 and attended Carlton University, where he received a degree in journalism. After a stint working as a reporter in Calgary and starting the newspaper for the Howard Smith Paper Mills in Cornwall, Ontario, Barrett eventually made his way to Victoria working as a reporter for the Times Colonist.
Over the years, Barrett's sense of investigative journalism never faltered. It was those skills that led him to further investigate how the federal government was allocating funds to end-of-life care.
“It coincided with him losing friends, former colleagues. They all died under different circumstances, but he wasn't happy with the circumstances of some of his closest friends at the end of their lives,” said Lloyd's sister-in-law Carol, adding Lloyd would often call them and ask them to Google things.
“He decided to look into the whole issue of hospice care, end-of-life care and care for seniors.”
Lloyd passed away in July 2014 and his final wishes of bringing attention to palliative and end-of-life care have finally come to fruition with the gift.
Some of the funds will be used for symptom and pain management, at Kedwell's request.
According to Gareau, about 50 per cent of the hospice's annual budget comes from donations to help the more than 300 people who are enrolled in hospice. Funds will also be used to expand the reach of the palliative response team to other communities.