Getting the most out of life



Making it matter is what the Chilliwack Hospice Society’s Bucket List Festival is all about.

Seize the day, enjoy it while it lasts, carpe diem! These are all things we’ve heard before and most likely believe. But how many people really live by those words, making each moment count?

Making it matter is what the Chilliwack Hospice Society’s Bucket List Festival, offered in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice, is all about.

This public forum, scheduled for Saturday, September 27, is for learning how to make the most out of life, pursuing the items on your bucket list even when dealing with mobility issues or a life limiting illness.

Learn about travelling when you are unwell, digital storytelling, planning a living wake, advance care planning and how to really “talk” with your doctor.

Ken Williams, a retired RCMP officer and cancer survivor, one of the many featured speakers, is a living, breathing example of all that this event stands for. Ken’s story is one of hope, courage and determination. Along with his partner Brenda, this inspiring duo maintains an active travel and social life during and between Ken’s three-week interval chemo treatments.

Elaborating on his philosophy on travelling while unwell, Ken notes, “Travel has always been a part of my life; it’s not something that began with or around my diagnosis, it’s been knit into my lifestyle since much before that. Whether it’s for work or for pleasure, travel is how I recharge my spiritual and emotional batteries, even during health challenges.”

He eloquently sums up his experiences of travelling postdiagnosis, saying, “Your brain can no longer make contracts that your body can’t keep any more.”

Ken has undergone over 30 treatments over the past two years, for Stage 4 colon cancer.

Ken notes that his days of extended travel are behind him, “The treatments take their toll and our travel habits have changed to accommodate that. We allow for rest while travelling and plan for double the time we used to, to accomplish the same things.” In light of the strenuous treatment schedule, Ken elaborates that “Travel is our escape from everyday life; it’s our diversion from the stress and anxiety of treatments and its how we get some much-needed respite.”

Friends, family and loved ones are well aware of Ken’s passion for travelling and have been supportive, encouraging him to stay active. He explains, “They suspected all along that I was not likely to make changes to my life that would severely restrict my travel. Invitations from friends far and wide are always coming through and many a times a friend’s welcoming home has been the perfect resting spot.”

Reflecting on his experiences in the past two years, he adds, “It all comes down to realizing that time for everyone is limited. So it’s all the more important to make the best of it and spend it as efficiently and as joyously you can. Don`t let less than ideal circumstances slow you down or keep you from living your life on your terms.”

Ken, along with other featured speakers and medical experts, will be on hand to share more helpful tips and words of wisdom at the Bucket List Festival on Sept. 27, 9:30 -2 pm at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. Tickets are just $25 and include lunch and several exciting Bucket List prizes.

Tickets on sale now at www.chilliwackculturalcentre.ca/ or call 604-391-SHOW. For more information about the event, or to request an interview with Ken Williams, contact Colleen Rush, Education Coordinator at the Chilliwack Hospice Society, at 604.795.4660 ext 224 or colleen@chilliwackhospice.org