A man who is battling cancer has been painting rocks with inspirational thank-you messages for front-line workers in Abbotsford.
Dale Leguerrier has been battling stage 4 colon cancer for almost three years, and has been living at the Abbotsford Hospice Society’s Holmberg House for the past three months after being transferred there from the palliative care unit at Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH).
Leguerrier’s sister, Julie Niessen, said the cancer is spreading to the rest of his body, and every day is a “painful struggle.”
But she said he has been grateful for the compassion and empathy shown by doctors, nurses and other staff at ARH and Holmberg House.
As a thank you, Leguerrier began painting rocks and placing them in the flower beds at the hospital’s staff parking lot.
“He thought that if a staff member was having a bad day maybe one of his rocks would make them feel a little bit better and let them know they were loved and appreciated,” Niessen said.
Leguerrier has now placed the rocks all around the hospice and serenity garden, made rocks for Holmberg House staff, and painted “teddy bear” rocks for kids who have lost a special person in their lives.
His daughter Katrina has also helped paint many of the rocks.
To date, more than 200 rocks – and counting – have been painted with whimsical, humorous and touching messages.
“The doctors, nurses and staff risk their lives every day to help us, and my brother is trying, in a small way, to make them feel appreciated for the work they do,” Niessen said.