Janet Dunbrack – 1945-2024

Janet Dunbrack died peacefully on June 13, 2024, at the age of 79.

Janet was active in palliative care both professionally and as a volunteer for more than 30 years. She began volunteering in palliative care at the Toronto Grace Hospital and Hôpital Bruyère in Ottawa. She was Coordonnatrice des services de soutien at the Centre Pierre-Hénault in Montreal, providing support to persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families where her main focus was palliative care.

After working at Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada in HIV/AIDS care, treatment and support, Janet became Executive Director of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. In this capacity she was instrumental in bringing together the Canadian End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada (a partnership of more than 30 organizations), and successfully advocated for changes to the federal Employment Insurance program to provide compassionate care leave for family caregivers. Janet finished her professional career as a health policy consultant based in Ottawa.

Janet is Past Chair of Hospice Care Ottawa and was a grief support volunteer at the Hospice’s Maison de l’Est. She served on the board of Carefor, a not-for-profit organization providing home and community care in eastern Ontario, including hospice palliative care. She recently worked with the Champlain Hospice Palliative Care Program to develop a basic hands-on skills training course for family caregivers. Janet is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal for service to palliative care in Canada and the June Callwood Hospice Volunteer award.

Janet was diagnosed with cancer 16 years ago, but remained free of any significant pain or suffering and continued to lead a joyous and productive life enriched by love and friendship. Much of her life’s work was devoted to the cause of palliative care. If you would like to make a donation in her memory, it was her wish that it be made to Hospice Care Ottawa at www.hospicecareottawa.ca/

Janet is survived by her husband, David Mayerovitch and by friends and colleagues, including Jackie Manthorne, President & CEO, and Mona Forrest, Operations Manager, of the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network. Janet had asked David to include the words of this anthem, which she sang in a church choir:

> There is so little time to be great
>> O may I just be kind
>> So when the creeping shadows
>> Soon or late, sweep o’er me
>> May they find
>> That tho I carved no lasting fame
>> I wait my summons
>> With a mind still tranquil
>> And my simple life by fate
>> In loving hearts enshrined.
>> There is so little time to be great
>> O may I just be kind.
>> (Mary O. Benedict 1940)

Janet was a gentle, thoughtful, kind, intelligent, and compassionate soul whose influence and memory will live on.