Rami Shami, Case Manager at Second Mile Club, is seen here at the end of his 140km ride standing to Niagara Falls. Funny enough, his ride ended with a gorgeous rainbow over the falls. (Credits: Rami Shami).
For residents living at the Kensington hospice with a progressive life-limiting illness, the journey can be very emotional and distressing, not only for the resident, but also for the family, caregivers and friends involved.
It is why the need to expand access within communities to specialized and compassionate services such as hospice palliative care is very important. This holistic end-of-life approach serves to encompass several modalities of care that work together, with a focus on providing a quality driven capacity of care for residents, families, caregivers, and friends.
The Kensington hospice is continually looking for ways to expand access to hospice care, which is largely achieved through meaningful philanthropic and community support. However, there has to be a significant change to bring greater awareness and support for hospice palliative care services, while increasing its accessibility for all community members.
Change makers like Rami Shami are strong advocates for this shift. Rami is a Case Manager for the Second Mile Club, where he feels honoured to work directly with families and caregivers who currently have someone who is at end-of-life or has died in the Kensington hospice. In his role, not only does he provide bereavement and caregiver support, but he has also gone out of his way to support the Kensington hospice through his favourite hobby: cycling!
Cycling for a better hospice care
McNally House staff supporting Rami on his cycle journey to Niagara Falls. (Credits: Ramishamiconsulting on Instagram).
Rami participated in ‘The Healing Cycle Foundation’s ‘Healing Cycle Virtual Ride,’ that aims to support hospice palliative care programs and services in southern Ontario. Through the month of September 2021, Rami made a solid commitment to cycle 400 km, all to support hospice palliative care.
What initially inspired Rami to commit to a month-long cycle was raising funds for the Day Hospice program for the Kensington hospice: “I wanted to bring a great deal of awareness to our Day Hospice program. We provide engaging activities and socialization for people living with a life-limiting illness. This also offers a bit of rest for their caregivers, allowing them to feel a certain measure of quality of life as well.”
Rami challenged himself through different paths and trials that truly tested his cycling skills. He went on short and longer rides, either by himself or with his companions, around various parts of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Throughout the rides, he was reminded of the lessons he had learned and the support he provides for residents, families, caregivers, and clients while working in hospice palliative care.
After weeks of cycling to various locations, Rami took on his biggest challenge yet: cycling from the Kensington hospice to Niagara Falls through a stunning 140 km route, with the Falls being a sentimental landmark.
Throughout this ride, Rami stopped by and supported several hospices he had a connection with along the way, most notably Lighthouse for Grieving Children, McNally House, and Ian Anderson House. “I believe in community, and these hospices are a part of the community that I’m passionate about,” Rami says. “I wanted to show them my love and support and raise awareness for them as well.”
Reflecting on the ride and the mission
A photo of Niagara Falls with a beautiful rainbow peeking through the water. (Credits: Rami Shami).
After a month-long ride consisting of several unique challenges, all for one common cause, Rami’s healing cycle fundraiser came to an end. Along with his cycle teammates of Kensington Spokes of Care, over $3,000 was raised to contribute to the funding of the Day Hospice program!
This effort could not have been possible without the immense support Rami received throughout his journey: “What really drove me to continue was all the love and support I received from everybody.” Rami says. “From my friends, to my colleagues, even from the President of ‘The Palliative Care Society of Trinidad and Tobago’! It was the community support and love that helped me finish this fundraiser.”
Hospice palliative care is about life, living and autonomy. By building capacity, raising funds, and supporting local hospices, you are directly contributing to an especially important cause and making a real impact in your community.