Frequently Asked Questions
How is the Foundation managed and operated?
The Living Wish Foundation is a registered Canadian charity. The co-founders are Alyssa Boyd, Nancy Good-Kennedy, and Lisa Wright; a palliative physician and two certified palliative care nurses. We received a one time Resilient Communities Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to help face the challenges brought on by COVID-19. Funds were used to assist with some staffing and administrative costs, creating virtual programs to combat isolation during lockdowns and buy the technology and systems needed to move HR/Volunteer recruitment and management online, and continue to provide virtual consultation and remote wishes for patients.
Due to ongoing restrictions, we are working towards raising the funds to create a permanent RN/Program Director position to manage the day-to-day business of the charity including planning and executing wishes and events, administration, transitioning to a virtual office environment, documentation, data, expenses, fundraising, marketing, communications, volunteer management, donor management, etc.
Staffing and related expenses:
We have a hard-working, dedicated board and close to 100 volunteers. We have minimal office supply expenses, no physical office space, and our administrative expenses relate to volunteer management, education, and training. This year (2022) we are looking for corporate sponsors and grants to cover the growing costs of doing business as we receive even more wish requests each month and to allow for us to create a physical location for safe and public health compliant patient consultations, assessments, volunteer recruitment and training, and storage.
How do we get our funding?
We get no ministry funding and rely solely on our fundraising events and donations to cover the costs of doing business, maintaining our patient transfer vehicle, and honouring patient wishes.
How do people find out about wishes?
Informal contacts, word-of-mouth, a monthly newsletter, radio, print and social media, community palliative rounds, community partnerships with the family health team, hospitals, residential hospices, Home and Community Care, provider agencies, community visiting nurses, NSMHPCN, retirement and LTC homes.
What is the demand?
Our goal for 2019 was one wish per month. We exceeded that goal. We exceeded it again in 2020 despite the constraints of COVID-19. We were able to fulfill the requests or put the person in contact with someone who could. in 2021, we were able to double our wish granting capabilities and create a virtual wish program, expand our LTC and Hospital "Tiny Wish" programs, and establish many community partnerships to make wishes happen safely despite all of the challenges we faced. We are always in awe of the generosity of our amazing community partners, local business, and our corporate sponsors.
How are priorities established?
Priorities are established by timing. Anyone with a wish and a terminal illness with a prognosis of one year or less is considered eligible. If someone is on a rapid trajectory and has little time left, we would prioritize that wish. We try to make all wishes happen quickly because we want to give people the best chance of success.
Are wishes mainly focused on people or families who could not afford to cover the cost of transportation, medical staff, and special equipment?
No. Our focus is on each unique request. The need to grant the wish is evaluated in the context of cost. We focus on event planning, transportation, providing medical escorts to and from events, and if we have a request that is not within our means, we look for a donor or an organization that could sponsor that kind of thing. Sometimes people have the money but not the know-how, so we provide event planning and medical support.