September 21st, 2018

Covenant celebrates 10 years with relay


By Schnarr, J.W. on September 14, 2018.

Resident Victor Boychuk, along with recreational assistant Jelea Kistenfeger, carries the baton as they lead the crowd on a wheelchair bike heading out Thursday from St. Therese Villa as part of the Relay of the Decade celebrating Covenant Healths 10-year anniversary. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

J.W. Schnarr

Lethbridge Herald

jwschnarr@lethbridgeherald.com

The largest Catholic health-care provider in Canada is celebrating 10 years with a special relay.

On Thursday, residents, staff and volunteers from St. Therese Villa carried a celebratory baton from the Villa to St. Michael’s Health Centre as part of a long-distance celebratory relay held by Covenant Health.

Named “The Relay of the Decade,” Covenant Health teams will cover 1,500 kilometres carrying the baton from facility to facility, and following a theme of “Many Voices, One Mission: Stronger Together.”

“This is part of a province-wide celebration,” said Christey-Ann Veldman, activity volunteer supervisor at St. Therese Villa. “We started in Edmonton and every facility is responsible for taking the relay baton from one facility to the next.”

During a pre-relay barbecue, Veldman said they served more than 100 people. As for who will be taking part in the relay, she said about 25 people, including 10 staff members, were expected for the first leg of the journey.

Veldman said it was important to get the residents involved in these types of public events to allow them to feel like part of the community.

“It’s their home,” she said. “This is the community they live in. So we want them to feel like they are part of it. We want them to provide an opportunity for them to be part of community events as well.”

“Different facilities are using different ways to move it along, like firetrucks or ambulances,” added Veldman. “We have a wheelchair bicycle.”

Victor Boychuk is an 85-year-old Coaldale man now residing at St. Therese Villa. As the designated baton bearer, he had an opportunity to travel by wheelchair bike.

“I’m a Lethbridgian, and I think this is important,” he said.

He has ridden the bike before and said he enjoys it because of the height.

“You’re sitting up high behind the steering wheel, and if you are braced in good, you feel comfortable. I feel safe with the driver.”

He noted he has enjoyed his time at St. Therese Villa.

“This place is available for people who need it. I’m glad I’m in here. It’s a wonderful place to me.”

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