Veteran in palliative care in Peterborough receives overwhelming community support

A veteran receiving palliative care in Peterborough received an overwhelming number of visitors the past few days, leading to a request from the hospital that well-wishers send their love and gratitude by cards and letters, rather than in-person visits.

On Sunday (Dec. 17), the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment took to Facebook asking for residents of the Peterborough area to consider visiting veteran George Henry Barber, who is receiving palliative care. The post, as of 1:30 p.m. Dec. 20, had been shared more than 1,250 times, received 176 comments and 454 reactions.

Three days later, on Dec. 23, the Regiment shared news that Barber had passed away.

“Good morning, we regrettably received word that Mr. George Barber has passed. We can only hope that our combined actions kept him in better spirits over his final days,” reads the message shared early Saturday morning.

“Thank you all for everything you did for this Veteran, and for our entire Canadian Forces Family.”

The response to the original request was so substantial, Peterborough Regional Health Centre posted their gratitude on Facebook, while asking caring hearts to refrain from overwhelming the veteran with unexpected visits.

“Our thanks to everyone to has visited Mr. (George Henry) Barber over the past several days,” reads the post from PRHC.

“We would respectfully ask members of the public to please send your best wishes through cards and letters than he can read when he is able to do so. Mr. Barber very much appreciates all of your kind thoughts and words, however he is generally unable to accommodate the large number of visitors who have been kind enough to come and see him.  Thank you for your understanding and for your thoughtfulness toward this PRHC patient. We wish you a warm and wonderful holiday season.”

Faith Dickinson, founder of Cuddles for Cancer, was one of the many community members to respond to the call for visitors. Although Barber was sleeping when she arrived, the young philanthropist left a matching pillow and blanket for the veteran.

According to the original post from the Regiment, George Henry Barber served from 1938 until 1945 after joining at age 16. The Regiment describes him as a pleasant man, a little hard of hearing, with no family and very few friends.

They say he is on palliative care and “is not doing well.”

Late Monday (Dec. 18) night, they posted the following update:

“Thank you all for your response. Nurses have advised that Mr. Barber is very appreciative of the support and somewhat exhausted from his visitors today. If you plan to visit in the days ahead, please call in advance to ensure Mr. Barber is well enough to meet with you,” the post reads.

“Thank you again from The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment. Your support of this Veteran makes us proud to serve this great community and Country.”

In addition to the news of Barber’s passing, the Regiment’s Saturday post included a fitting quote from writer Lewis Carroll: “One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.”

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