Casey House at 25

Landmark anniversary for pioneer in AIDS and palliative care

TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Casey House will pay tribute to its past, present and future at a 25th anniversary open house on Friday, March 1 at 2:30 - 7:30 pm. Past and present volunteers and staff will gather for this launch of a full year of 25th anniversary commemorations for the Toronto HIV/AIDS hospital, which opened its doors in 1988 as Canada's first stand alone AIDS facility, and first free-standing hospice in Ontario.

The 25th anniversary year activities include banners to be hung throughout the Church/ Wellesley community, raising awareness of the growing need for HIV/AIDS care as well as Casey House's plans to build a new and larger facility by 2016. On March 23, a larger public event honouring the historic anniversary will take place at SnowBall CHROMA, a fundraising gala and lounge party at Toronto's Mattamy Athletic Centre.

As the AIDS epidemic hit Toronto with devastating force in 1988, volunteers including Canada's leading social activist June Callwood created Casey House, the first standalone HIV/AIDS care facility in Canada. Defying the fear and stigma surrounding this newly-emerging disease, the founders of Casey House created a beacon of compassion and hope, gaining world recognition as innovators in AIDS care and palliative care.

"Casey House was founded thanks to the foresight and compassion of a group of dedicated volunteers, in the midst of the devastation of the early AIDS crisis," said Guy Bethell, Chair of the Casey House Board of Directors. "That tradition lives on at Casey House today. We continue to innovate and look ahead as we address the needs of the growing number of people living with HIV/AIDS who still require the specialized and compassionate care for which Casey House is renowned."

The number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto continues to rise, with 1 in 120 adult Torontonians now HIV positive and likely to experience increased health care needs as they age. Today, Casey House specializes in the treatment of individuals living with advanced HIV, many of them coping with five or more significant illnesses in addition to HIV infection.

Adapting to the growing demand for advanced and specialized HIV/AIDS care, Casey House is currently designing a new facility slated to open in 2016 across the street from its current location, more than doubling its capacity to provide care. Casey House recently embarked on a $10 million capital campaign to fund its portion of the construction costs, with the majority of funds coming from Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

"Our founders recognized a deep and unmet need for compassion and dignity, and they responded with love by creating a health care treasure," said Stephanie Karapita, Casey House Chief Executive Officer. "Since that time, so many people have helped and continue to help Casey House, from all walks of life in Toronto. It is thanks to this unbridled kindness and support that Casey House continues to be a beacon of compassion for so many people who continue to struggle with HIV in our city."

About Casey House
Marking 25 years of compassionate care in our community, Casey House is a specialty HIV/AIDS hospital with community programming including home care and outreach programs. Our mission is to provide exemplary treatment, support and palliative care for people affected by HIV/AIDS, in collaboration with our communities. www.caseyhouse.com

SOURCE: Casey House Foundation

For further information:

Kathleen Sandusky
Casey House
Phone 416-434-7763
ksandusky@caseyhouse.on.ca