McNally House Hospice – providing hope, reflection and the opportunity to create new memories

End of life is the most difficult journey we must all take, but for Joe (Johan) Van Rooijen McNally House Hospice provided hope and the opportunity for peaceful reflection at the end of a life well lived.

Born in Holland and immigrating to Canada shortly after the end of WW II, Joe learned the values of family and hard work at a very young age. Joe joined TD Bank directly out of high school and successfully worked his way to Branch Manager, settling in Brockville where he raised his family. When his tenure with TD Bank was up and it was time to retire, Stoney Creek seemed the logical choice for Joe – close to family but also providing access to his greatest love of all – sailing. Joe spent many happy years sailing during the warm months in Canada and wintering in Florida.

Things changed for Joe’s idyllic retirement when he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. When the burden became too great, Joe was adamant that he didn’t want to spend his final days in a hospital. “When we discovered McNally House, everything changed for my Dad – it wasn’t about the cancer anymore, but about him as a person,” explains his son Peter. “McNally House felt like home when he couldn’t go home.” Shortly after arriving at McNally House, Peter saw his father rally. “It was like an all-inclusive resort from the home cooked meals, to the beautiful gardens to relax in, and the round the clock personalized care and attention.” Peter explains that McNally House provided the relief his Dad needed to find peace and hope in his final days, he was even well enough to catch the odd sprint car race at the Oshweken track.

But McNally actually provided Joe the greatest gift of all – the ability to share in his only son’s wedding. Peter and his fiancée, Allison, were planning to marry on August 22, 2014. Despite Joe’s hopeful spirits and determination to attend his son’s wedding, the staff at McNally House grew concerned over his weakening condition. But they knew how important this day was to Joe. So on August 10th a very special, private wedding ceremony was held in the gardens at McNally House.

“The staff and volunteers at McNally went above and beyond to give us this special day,” explained Peter. “It was a relief for my Dad knowing he wouldn’t miss our wedding, and they provided us with a memory we will always cherish as a family. Without McNally House this never could have happened.”

This is what McNally House is all about – helping residents live their remaining days to the fullest, celebrating every moment with the best possible quality of life. This is how McNally House brings compassion to the communities of Niagara West and its residents.

Joe sadly lost his battle with cancer in August 2014 at the relatively young age of 66. But his family draws comfort in knowing his last days at McNally House were filled with exceptional care and comfort.