Teresa Dellar, founder of West Island Palliative Care Residence, dies at age 58
Published Monday, August 19, 2019 4:13PM EDT Last Updated Monday, August 19, 2019 5:30PM EDT
Teresa Dellar, the founder of the West Island Palliative Care Residence, has died.
Dellar devoted her life to easing the pain and suffering of those in their final days, helping those who were ill to retain their dignity.
Her dream of creating a comforting home in Montreal's West Island suburb was realized in 2002 when the centre opened, allowing people to be with their loved ones at the end of their lives.
Throughout her career, Dellar devoted as much time to education as to compassion, and for many people meeting Dellar was the first time they learned of everything that could be done to let a person live out their final days without pain.
Day in, day out, Dellar showed support during the worst moments of the lives of many families including former Liberal MNA Geoff Kelley, whose mother died at the centre.
"Five days before my mum passed away it was her 50th wedding anniversary and the staff here took the time to curl her hair and do her nails and make it as special a day as it could be," said Kelley.
Throughout all the painful times of loss and sorrow, Dellar was a comfort those who needed it the most
Her long-time friend, CHOM radio host Terry Di Monte, said Dellar was always a joy to be around.
"When she was in a room she radiated this energy," said Di Monte.
"When I got the call this morning, it hurts, and it's a shock and I know it's not supposed to be a shock but it is."
Dellar had the idea to create a palliative care centre in the 1990s when she worked as a hospital social worker and nurse at the Lakeshore General Hospital.
Her drive and networking skills led her to create a group to support her vision, not just in fundraising but in building new contacts throughout Montreal society.
"You couldn't help but to be swept up by her exuberance, her energy, her kindness, her empathy," said Di Monte.
"The West Island Palliative Care [Residence] doesn't start without her watching patients go from the Lakeshore General Hospital and go on a bus to get chemotherapy and care to downtown," said Di Monte.
That drive, and that network, made her able to fundraise $3 million every year to care for patients.
Dellar was named Montreal's Woman of the Year in 2007.
She was also honoured by the Governor General in 2012 and again in 2016 when she was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross.
Meanwhile Dellar's dream centre continues to grow, and in 2018 announced plans to expand its facility.
Dellar died after a long illness.
She was 58.