Comfort, Care, Compassion: bringing residential hospice care to Durham Region

There is an undeniable need for palliative care in Durham Region – help us bring residential hospice care to our community!

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Melodie Zarzeczny, Board Chair

Melodie is the Board Chair and a recently retired management consultant whose career spanned over 30 years of providing governance, operational, strategic and merger planning to a wide range of not-for-profit organizations in Ontario and across Canada.

She led the board of Durham Hospice through the LHIN-mandated merger with VON Durham in 2015, and when the opportunity arose to build a hospice residence several years later, she facilitated the re-purposing of the original Durham Hospice corporation to enable the fast-tracking of a hospice in Clarington.

In addition to her many duties as Chair, Melodie is the official spokesperson for Durham Region Hospice-Clarington and oversees all Board committees.

Jackie Nixon, Treasurer

After more than 20 years achieving success in the financial services sector, Jackie made the leap from corporate Toronto to her community as a Real Estate Broker, working with a diverse clientele.

She has always been very active in her community, volunteering as an executive member of the non-profit Durham Girls’ Choir, participating as a board member of Bethesda House along with many other hands-on community initiatives. Jackie also has personal experience with loved ones in palliative care.

Jackie is the Board’s Treasurer. She and her family are long time residents of Bowmanville.

Reverend Deb Foster

Deb  is a resident of Clarington and a minister in the United Church of Canada. She has been serving in churches in Durham since 2004 and has been a member of the Durham Hospice Clarington Board for six years. Along with her work in the churches, Deb brings to the Board her experiences with government, small business, seniors, a retirement residence, community care and grief counseling.

Through her doctoral research, Deb practises and teaches on the multi-cultural, multi-faith and multi-lingual, post-Christian Canada that has evolved through the socio-historic and religious changes since WWII.  Her interests are in spirituality, lived faith, death practices, grief and MAiD.

Kirk Kemp

Kirk is the President of Algoma Orchards Limited, where he has been growing apples for over 40 years. Kirk has been a past President of Bowmanville Lions Club, past Director of Ontario Apple Growers Association and helped raised money for Durham College and the Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex.

He has served on the Bowmanville Hospital Foundation Board of Directors for a number of years and joined the Durham Region Hospice – Clarington Board in 2019. Kirk has been instrumental in raising funds for the new hospice residence in Clarington.

Debbie Lodge

Debbie has worked for more than 35 years in the media advertising industry on major accounts such as Home Hardware Stores, McDonald’s (Manitoba), Tourism Toronto and Imperial Oil/ESSO.  She was also the Advertising & Sales Manager for a large Ontario tourist attraction and a major Canadian record company.

Prior to joining the Durham Hospice Board, Debbie was a Board Member for the Alzheimer Society of Durham Region, Big Sisters of Ajax-Pickering and spent 20+ years as a volunteer guider and Commissioner for Girl Guides of Canada.

Debbie has been a Board Member of Durham Hospice for many years and helped facilitate the merger with VON Canada and the building of Durham Region Hospice’s Clarington residence.  She is Chair of the Governance Committee.

Anita Mazzara

Anita joined the Board in 2015, when it was Durham Hospice and was considering closing down until the possibility of a hospice residence provided a new direction and vision for the Board.

Although she lives in Thornhill, Anita worked for nine years in where she was introduced to the community and the Durham Hospice Board. Anita is now retired from Mount Pleasant Group and works part time in the garden centre of Home Depot.

Anita has seen firsthand the benefit of a hospice within a community.  Through her community outreach she had a relationship with other Hospices in Richmond Hill and Newmarket and believes with her whole heart in the benefit they bring to not only the person being cared for but the families and friends they leave behind.

As a member of the Durham Hospice – Clarington Board Anita feels a sense of pride that she is making a contribution to bring the benefits of a hospice residence to the families of the Durham community.

Rod McArthur

Rod is a retired Dentist who practiced in Newcastle and was well-known for providing excellent patient care and comprehensive dental treatments to his patients for 35 years.

He joined the Durham Hospice Board of Directors as a way to further serve his community.  Rod lives in Bond Head.

Jill Richardson

Jill is a retired school principal and is very active in community service.  She served as co-Chair of the “Buy Design for Windfall Clothing” charity event for five years, Fundraising Chair for Windfall Clothing, and served on their Board of Directors for 5 years.

She was also the Sponsorship Chair and a Committee member of Newcastles of the World and Port of Newcastle’s co-Chair for Clean Up Day.

Jill joined the Board of Directors of Durham Region Hospice- Clarington and uses her many valuable talents as a member of the Fundraising committee.

Marian Timmermans

Marian was born in Saskatchewan and currently lives in Bowmanville.  Marian is semi-retired after working as a nurse for 37 years and feels that it is impossible for her to “turn it off”.  Marian has worked in various specialties in her career – from high risk labor and delivery, emergency nursing, long term care, community/home care and an interesting stint with a pharmaceutical company.

Six years ago she was approached to sit on a committee whose purpose was to “get” a hospice residence in the Municipality of Clarington where she lives.

As a member of the Board for two years, fundraising and awareness keep her occupied now as well as being “the nurse” to the neighborhood and farming community.

Willie Woo

Willie joined the Durham Region Hospice – Clarington Board in October, 2018 after being involved (since 2014) with a small group engaged to see a hospice residence built in Clarington.

The Village of Newcastle has been “home” for the Woo family for over 67 years. Willie served on Clarington Council for three terms. His first term was as the Local Councillor and the next two terms as Regional Councillor. Willie is a retired employee of Goodyear Engineered Products – Bowmanville Plant.

Willie has been involved with many volunteer activities and committees. He was the Chair of Planning & Development Services and the Council Liaison on the Newcastle Community Hall Board, Samuel Wilmot Nature Area Management Advisory Committee, Bethesda House Board, St. Mary’s Cement Community Relations Committee, Visual Arts Centre Board and Clarington Youth Advisory Committee.

A hospice is a continuum of the health care system. For those facing end-of-life, Willie strongly feels a hospice residence will provide a compassionate and dignified last few days for the residents and their families.

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