Terry and Denis Sirois keep it local with donation to hospice and palliative care campaign

Terry and Denis Sirois saw first-hand what end-of-life care could be like in a hospice when Terry’s aunt experienced a terminal illness while living in Vernon, British Columbia. (Photo courtesy of St. Paul's Hospital Foundation)

Article and photo courtesy of St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation

This interview appeared in the Spirit newsletter published by the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation in Spring 2019.

Terry and Denis Sirois both grew up on the west side of Saskatoon, just four blocks from each other. The couple connected as adults and they are both long-time supporters of community initiatives in the city.

“Saskatoon has been good to us and we don’t want to be anywhere else,” says Terry. Their four adult children were all born at St. Paul’s Hospital.

“Giving is something for our children—and grandchildren—to carry forward and we hope we can instill our family’s culture of philanthropy by example,” says Denis.

Both Denis and Terry are active volunteers in their community. Over the years, Terry has served with so many local organizations that her family and friends describe her as “a professional volunteer.”

“It’s especially gratifying working with [hospitals] because the personal satisfaction of knowing someone has access to the equipment and care they need is worth a lot,” Terry says.

Denis worked for PotashCorp (now Nutrien) for 39 years and retired as the company’s Vice President and Controller in 2017. He says the company’s community investment program sets an example of how local support in Saskatchewan can have an impact: “The company supported a lot of charities locally, and it came naturally to support strongly led local causes with your own personal resources as well.”

Terry and Denis Sirois have pledged a $270,000 gift to the Close to Home Campaign for Hospice and End-of-life Care. The $20-million campaign supports SPH Foundation’s goal of opening the city’s first free-standing hospice to provide optimal end-of-life care.

The couple’s own related experience took place when Terry’s aunt experienced a terminal illness while living in Vernon, British Columbia, a city with a population of just over 40,000 people.

“My aunt’s hospice care in Vernon gave her a lot of peace and dignity with the home-
like environment, the large windows and dedicated care. Her experience really impacted us,” says Terry.

“Saskatoon is six times larger than Vernon, but our city currently does not have a free- standing hospice. We can do better. We all have faced or will face experiences with end-of-life care and now that experience can be so much more positive for a family member or friend. We don’t know what we need until we need it,” adds Denis.