Though two years apart in age, siblings Brooke and Ethan Howes share the same birthday – November 24. It was Brooke’s idea that their birthday party, which the two always celebrate together with friends, could be a way to do something for the Aberdeen Hospital Palliative Care Unit where they had spent time the previous year visiting their most beloved aunt, Fay.
Brooke, who was turning 8, asked her brother, turning 10, how he felt about asking for donations for their birthday rather than presents. He agreed, and the two approached their mom to help with the arrangements.
According to Ethan, not having presents didn’t take any of the excitement out of their party. “It was a really great time with friends.”
This act of pure generosity doesn’t surprise their mom, Kelli Murphy. Their Aunt Fay was like a second mom to her children. The time the family spent together in the palliative care unit was very profound and had an impact on everyone including Brooke and Ethan.
“Fay’s passing was a very difficult time, which would have been so much worse without that unit. We as a family talk about it all the time.” Kelli is keenly aware of the difference the Unit has made. Her father passed away from cancer in 1994, before the Palliative Care Unit was opened.
“The kids had a living room right next to Fay’s room. They could have a cookie and do puzzles with other family members. That space made such a difference for all of us.”
Speaking to Brooke, she remembers having fun spending time with family and beating her brother at a game of cards.
“You can tell that a lot of thought and heart went into making that place what it is,” says Kelli, who remembers the Unit as a calming, serene and comfortable place.
The family delivered the donation on December 21, the one-year anniversary of Fay’s passing.
“I wasn’t sure how I’d feel going back there. But it was good; it felt good to give back because the unit made such a difference for us. We’re hoping to continue what Brooke and Ethan have started and to grow it with our family as a tradition to honour Fay.”
Tribute gifts are a thoughtful way to mark special occasions, anniversaries and birthdays. Honouring friends and loved ones with a donation in their name is a meaningful way to mark their milestones. Pay tribute to someone you know today and give to the area of care that matters most to them.
Bottom Picture L-R: Pictured: Kelli’s niece, Lindsay; Kelli’s mom, Ellen Murphy; Brooke Howes; Dr. Gerry Farrell; Ethan Howes and Kelli Murphy.