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Friday August 5th, 2011

Posted at 1:15pm

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Ron & Noella Truant give the keys for April's Garden to The Hospice's Executive Director, Carol Derbyshire. (Photo by: Kathy Vincent)

After months of work, The Hospice Of Windsor & Essex County is bringing a bit of April into the summer.

On Wednesday, August 3, the organization (6038 Empress St. )opened April’s Garden to its clients. Located at the north end of Hospice Village, the 650 square foot conservatory was created to provide peace, comfort and fun for families during their time at the facility.

Holding a personal connection to Ron & Noella Truant, April’s Garden was named after Noella’s sister, April MacKinnon. While fighting lung cancer, she stayed at The Hospice’s residential home until passing away two weeks later in September 2008. MacKinnon was only 50-years-old.

Realizing The Hospice could use some outdoor scenery during MacKinnon’s stay, Ron & Noella proposed a gazebo shortly after her death, something she enjoyed while staying at a care facility in Burlington. The project was soon greenlit but once blueprints came in, it morphed into the more ambitious conservatory that was revealed on Wednesday night.

“The gazeebo turned into a conservatory, which is what you see today,” Ron said to the media. “We just wanted something that would be very comfortable.”

April’s Garden has many windows and is temperature controlled for residents’ comfort. The stone and stucko building also features comfortable furniture, a flat screen TV and stone fireplace. Those using the conservatory have a great view of the newly landscaped surroundings outside as well.

This wall plaque with a faded photo of April MacKinnon hangs proudly in the conservatory, containing names of those who made April's Garden possible. (Photo by: Kathy Vincent)

While Ron and Noella funded much of the project, they received community assistance– some even offering their services for free.

“Local and out-of-town suppliers, along with donors, were instrumental with their generosity, support and assistance in bringing this wonderful Conservatory to life”, said Noella in a Hospice press release. “It was overwhelming. It is only when you need and experience Hospice that you realize just how comforting it is during what can be a very emotional and stressful period.”

Ron and Noella remain hopeful that April’s Garden will inspire others to help Hospice Village Through development and enhancements. Their experience with the organization’s facilities have given them a great appreciation for what The Hospice can offer.

“It’s a unique facility,” said Noella. “One that Windsor and Essex County is very fortunate to have.”

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