UVic student Jake Zeal writes a message on the Before I Die wall which was stationed in the University of Victoria’s Student Union Building on Oct. 30. The messages are simple, but compelling. Zeal wrote: “spread joy.” (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

VIDEO: ‘Before I die’ death wall inspires life

Art installation at UVic hits the heart

Students were inspired on Wednesday by a 10-foot-tall wall that challenged them to write one thing publicly that they would do before they died.

The giant wall, which says “Before I Die I Want To” followed by a blank line, is posted the University of Victoria’s Student Union Building for Oct. 30 to Nov. 1.

The goal of the wall is to get people thinking about life, by making them think about death, said fourth year registered nursing student Sydney Hofmeyr, who hosted the installation on Wednesday with Erin Donald, an RN working on a PhD in mental health and palliative care.

What Hofmeyr and Donald saw on Wednesday was a surprising response and one of youthful vigour.

The first wall was created by Candy Chang on an abandoned house in New Orleans. The response was so popular it inspired her to create the Before I Die Project. Deathly Matters, UVic’s Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, and UVIC Nursing brought the wall to UVic this week.

The two are part of the Equity in Palliative Approaches to Care (EPAC) research program which erected the wall this week, though there are 5,000 of the walls around the world.

“The whole purpose of this wall is to reflect on what’s important to them,” Hofmeyr said. “This is our first time hosting it and we’ve seen a very, interesting project as people approach quite curious about what others are writing and then contributing themselves.”

It is UVic after all, so some of the early declarations are just to drink with friends, or go to the new Star Wars village at Walt Disney World. Others seek to make a difference, either through social justice or self growth, while others still are hoping to graduate school, and have kids.

This year members of EPAC were part of the launch of the Palliative Outreach Resource Team (PORT) with partners University of Victoria, Victoria Cool Aid Society, Island Health and Victoria Hospice.

PORT is a mobile team of doctors and nurses aimed at providing and connecting people to end-of-life care.

For more information visit Equityinpalliativecare.com.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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