HHA's Changemaker of the Month
Kim Hutten (May 2018)
Tell us about yourself and what is important to you, when it comes to HHA,
I first came upon the website for the Home Hospice Association in 2015 when a
friend directed me to the Bello Project. We had been talking about how difficult
it was for my dying friend to find good help to care for her animals at the time.
The Bello Project was new and developing at that time and I had learned of it too
late, as my friend was in the end stage of her walk with cancer. She died that year.
Having not experienced death and all that encompasses the dying process and the
circle of life coming to completion, it had a lasting impact on me. I still think about
what all happened during both of their illnesses. Soon after losing my friend, I
reached out to the Bello Project and asked if I could help. Fast forward two years,
I found myself helping to develop a new Home Hospice Association Chapter in the Waterloo Region.
Why? To put it all very simply: Because I value life, and I value death, and I believe that a person has the right to live in peace of mind, surrounded by people they love, and where that may be lacking, at the very least loving care. I also believe as a Canadian citizen that we have so much to be thankful for and are richly blessed in this country, but in the area of providing quality Palliative Care, we are seriously falling short. We are falling short in providing individuals quality care and families with the care and support they need to help walk with a dying loved one in their final days. We can do better, and I feel very thankful to be a part of an organization that is trying to do just that.
My grandmother has been a very strong motivator in my life. A strong woman, with strong faith, and a big heart. She would welcome anyone to her home and heart. I reflect often on my grandmother’s life. Growing up in the Netherlands during World War II, losing her mother and some very young siblings to illness at a young age, my grandmother was a caretaker already as a child. Death was not a stranger to her and yet instead of falling down, she developed incredible strength from caring for others. Her heart grew larger along with her tasks. I can only aspire to someday be as strong and caring as she was.
How do you feel your work in what you are doing with HHA is having an impact in your community or all the communities HHA serves?
If you have walked alongside a dying person, you will know for yourself what you felt worked and what was lacking in your experience. Sadly, for many people in Canada, their final wishes are just not possible because the support necessary to provide someone with the ability to die at home, in comfort with the people and pets they love, is just not adequate enough. Although many (the majority of Canadians) wish to die at home, they end up dying in the hospital. I feel like the work we do with the Home Hospice Association will help to make dying at home a reality for Canadians and their families.
"What fills you with joy and how do you feel you bring joy to HHA?
I have always believed that our purpose on earth is to walk with kindness and humility. In doing so we are filled with joy when we see joy on the faces of people around us. For me, my heart is filled with joy, when someone who needs help is helped. When someone’s dying wish can be granted, and when families and friends are so grateful and happy to be able to care for their loved one in a comfortable and caring manner. All of these are possible with the Home Hospice Association. I feel that any joy I can bring to someone else, is also my joy.
What hopes does your work with HHA give you for the future care of the dying?
It would be my hope that someday every person in every community in Ontario (and even nationally)will feel like they have the choice and ability to choose the support of an organization like the Home Hospice Association, either for themselves or someone they love or care for. I hope that someday, we can say “Yes” to everyone who asks for assistance, and that our communities will see the value in the services this organization can bring to their people. I hope that people will invest in the Home Hospice Association in the whatever means they can (time/monetary) so that when their time comes, their wish of dying at home can come true too.
Kim is motivated and inspired by many quotes. Recently attending a conference she heard Dr. Jim Loehr speech and felt moved by these two:
“How do you justify the gift of life? You GIVE it away.”
“High performing humans are doing it for others, NOT for themselves.”
Kim is an outdoor nature lover that spends any of her spare time walking her dogs and visiting Ontario’s parks.
She is a Registered Veterinary Technician and her first contact with HHA was in 2015 through the Bello Project. After a close friend passed away, Kim was motivated to make a difference by helping pet owners, who are living with a life-limiting illness, to take care of their animals, so they can stay home at a time when they are needed most. Since then, her engagement with Home Hospice Association has grown and she became a Team Leader for the Guelph and Waterloo Regions.
Kim’s motivation to help others and be a changemaker comes from her grandmother. A strong woman who
made a difference in everyone’s lives