Sunset Palliative Care is now operating in its 30th year in Portage la Prairie. Coordinator Aldene Moroz started with the service 10 years ago this month, and to celebrate, she's holding a fundraiser by way of their Sunshine Raffle. She recounts their history.

"We started off with just a few people and it's just exciting to see that after 30 years, we're still here," notes Moroz. "We have 35 active volunteers, we still provide palliative care to people in their homes or in the hospital. We still have the two palliative care rooms in the Portage hospital that we take care of, and we're looking forward to the new hospital where there's going to be six rooms for us to be serving."

Moroz explains they also continue to hold bereavement groups once or twice a year. The Memory Garden at Island Park has really grown through the years. Moroz shares what's happening there this year.

"We're doing a few new things this year with our permanent signage and a pergola to go on the stage where people have Celebrations of Life," continues Moroz. "We then had a couple of wedding ceremonies over there at Island Park in the Memory Garden."

Through the years, she says their Christmas Dinner of Hope has always drawn a large crowd. They're now looking forward to another fundraiser this week.

"For the last 10 years that I've been involved, we've really grown very extensively," continues Moroz. "People are using our services far more than they used to because many people don't have family in the area. And so, they do need the volunteers to come and be with their loved ones. It also gives the volunteers a chance to learn lots about the person that they're sitting with. Our volunteers love meeting new people and helping them, and it helps families."

Their bereavement group has also been continuing quite strongly for the last four to five years. 

"The Christmas Dinner of Hope is probably my favourite. I see how people want to come to it. We sell every year. People who come ask to come back the following year, as well as other people who want to take part in it. We put their names on the list, and that dinner has really grown. We started off with 23 people at the very first one that I attended in 2014, and this year, we had 280 people. So, that was very exciting in 2023. That's the real cap-off of how we've grown in the 30 years."

Before Moroz, Sue Gray led the organization who took it over from Pat Chimmney, and before her was Sue Price.

"We're thrilled about our 24th Sunshine Raffle that is coming up," adds Moroz. "We're going to be at Pharmasave on Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. selling the tickets. We only have 360 left from the original 800. We have never raised the price. They're still $50, and the winner is going to win $10,000, $3,500, $2,000 or $1,500. And this month in February, for people that draw or buy before February 29th at 5:00, their name goes in for the early bird, which is a $50.00 gift certificate to Tornado's Restaurant and Lounge."

Moroz notes the winner of the gift certificate has their name go back into the drum for chance to also win all the money.