Support, compassion, and awareness were the themes of the night, as Heartland Hospice Moose Jaw held an event Thursday night at the Mae Wilson Theatre. The event brought together over a hundred people who either support the Hospice, or have needed to personally use the services.

The event was to bring awareness to the services they offer, and to raise funds for the Hospice. Special guests Greg and Leonne Ottenbreit shared their story, and how their experiences with palliative care changed the way they see the world.

 "Thinking back, we were raising a young family," said Greg Ottenbriet. "Back 22 years ago, we had two daughters and a young son. Sort of the ideal life we thought. A fairly thriving business back in Yorkton, raising our family and going on holidays, that sort of thing. And from time to time you'd see somebody in the community who was going through a tough situation. An ill child, or the loss of the child. And from my persepective anyway, you'd think 'those poor people.'"

"And then in 1998, when our son got diagnosed with cancer, we became those poor people. Unfortunately we lost him in early 2000. But through that, in support of him over the years, we ended up starting a head shaving fundraiser and having some fun and raise some money for research. The first year he couldn't participate, he was just too sick with his treatment. The second year he's feeling well enough to participate so we did it again," he said. 

"The third year we were planning to get it done in May of 2000, but we lost him in February. We thought we were done, but we were encouraged to do it in his honour one more time. And we've been doing it ever since. This developed into all kinds of different things for fundraisers, and most of the funds towards research right here in the province."

The Ottenbreits have had numerous bouts with cancer throughout their family, and have raised over $800,000 to date for cancer research.

"we've worked hard to become and have a role here to have a hospice in our city. This event is to try and raise some awareness for what hospice is.  To raise some funds so that we can offer some extra services for the people who are in the hospice, and sort of promote the education to our community.  And thank the community as well," said Lena Hartman, chairperson for Heartland Hospice Moose Jaw.

"Their mission is to support the provision of compassionate holistic care to those nearing the end of their physical life."To have a specialized space that's dedicated to hospice care.  Which is end of life care. To support people at the end of their life, with the comfort they need, as well as the families.  The comforts they need.  And it takes very trained people in palliative hospice care, and it takes specialized space with all the comforts that you need. And so we're working to support that happening, and to raise awareness for that", said Della Ferguson, member of the Heartland Hospice board."

There were multiple presentations of personal experiences shared, a performance by Nicholas Hennink, a silent auction, and more.