“Give more than is expected, love more than seems wise, serve more than seems necessary and help more than is asked.”
These are words that Lisette Kingo, founder of The Angel Project, lives by.
“It is every single person’s biggest fear to be completely alone,” Lisette says. It’s even worse to be completely alone when your home consists of a hospital room due to complex medical needs. The Angel Project serves approximately 300 of these people; some have occasional visits, most others have none.
Many of the patients The Angel Project helps will spend their remaining days in a hospital bed, and without The Angel Project, will never know that someone cares.
The conditions and diagnoses vary – stroke, accident, MS, ALS. The patients are between the ages of 18 and 80 and a majority are male accident victims, possibly paralyzed, and too ill to go to a nursing home. They need 24-hour medical support, so a hospital bed becomes their home.
With few visitors and few necessities provided by the hospital, these forgotten patients have simple requests. A soft blanket. A poster to brighten their bedside. Toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo and shaving cream. Such basic things that we take for granted, yet mean the world to those who have been forgotten.
Lisette founded The Angel Project in 2008, but her vision began earlier, when she discovered that there were patients living in the hospital with no hope of recovery and with no visitors. She was compelled to help.
Compassion and humanity are the heart of what The Angel Project does. “Instead of walking away, if we just stop and take a moment to do something,” Lisette says, then we are sharing our compassion and humanity. “We give back a sense of humanity through personal interaction and the acknowledgment of basic human value.”
The Angel Project got its name from hospital staff, who began calling Lisette and her family their own special angels when they’d visit these lonely patients. The charity itself is one of a very few grassroots non-profit organizations, with no overhead and is 100% volunteer driven. As an official registered charity, every dollar goes exactly where it’s supposed to – to support the patient in practical ways. Lisette runs her own business in order to keep The Angel Project running.
Lisette is a tireless champion of The Angel Project. Along with Board Member and 3-time Olympic Gold Medallist Becky Kellar, she can often be found speaking to schools, educating the students about compassion and humanity and building awareness, and making countless phone calls to gain support from the community. Many individuals and businesses have already stepped up to show their support. But the need is great. Lisette stresses that this isn’t just a Christmas project – the needs are ongoing, all year long.
Funds for The Angel Project are raised in a variety of ways:
The Angel Project personally delivers items to the patients. But there is more to the project than toiletries, posters and blankets. As part of The Angel Project, one generous Burlington business has donated the cost of a wheelchair to a patient who otherwise could not afford one, giving the gift of comfort and a little freedom.
Funds also go towards bigger equipment needs such as a speech computer for someone who hasn’t been able to speak in many years.
Recently, groups of schoolchildren created Christmas cards, which will also be personally delivered to the patients, to bring some Christmas cheer and to remind them that they are not alone.
One of the most special gifts that The Angel Project gives to patients is a once-a-year outing. Whether the outing is to a concert, a fair, or a hockey game, this is a wonderful gift to patients who otherwise are confined to their hospital room. It’s a big undertaking, but there is so much joy when a patient can feel the fresh air on their face and be reminded that there is life outside their walls.
This Christmas, all of the patients in The Angel Project have been sponsored. But the new year will bring ongoing needs and sadly, new patients. To stay up-to-date about fundraising events and ongoing, specific needs, please sign up for The Angel Project’s newsletter. Whether you’re able to offer your donation of time or money, you can rest assured that your support is helping.
“It is unbelievable what a difference we can make,” Lisette says.
Teresa Baerg is a writer, editor and self-confessed word-nerd who loves telling a good story. She is proud to call Burlington home for over a decade. She is passionate about her family, sunshine and palm trees, growing veggies, running and cycling, good books, good food and good coffee. And football. Twitter: @teresabaerg Instagram: @teresabaerg Website: teresakbaerg.com
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