Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 21, 2006
Kindness works – and also wins
Volunteer chair receives Caritas Mission Award
By BILL GLEN
"She is tireless and always out to make a positive difference."
- Averil Suriyakumaran
"Diane is totally compassionate in everything she does. She is a delightful lady," said Suriyakumaran, director of care at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre.
"Dealing with her own relatives here over a period of time, she looked for the most positive outcomes. Her effect on other families and residents was felt.
"She listens to people. She is tireless and always out to make a positive difference."
Berge does not drive and she struggles with MS. Yet improving the lives of others is her daily quest.
She recently introduced a new program called Second Wind Dreams, similar to the Children's Wish Foundation.
The continuing care residents were asked to write down something they had always wished for. Some family members offered wishes on behalf of their relatives.
Berge took the responses and began calling several businesses to see if the idea had any steam.
She was overwhelmed by how many wishes could come true.
One woman had always wanted a professional manicure. She got one. Another had longed to be reunited with an old classmate.
One woman had always wanted to go to a dollar store. Twenty dollars was collected for her and a local limousine company offered their services to take her, at no charge.
"It's nothing really huge, but it is to them," Berge said. "It is important for the community to be aware that these folks have needs. They are very much a forgotten group of people."
Berge says any amount of money can be pumped into continuing care to try and improve it, but until the public's perception changes, nothing will have a lasting effect.
And Berge does so with a kind heart.
"We need to make the public aware of these people and make them equal with others in society," she said. "They are such a caring group of people."
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