Momentum continued to grow and in spring 2013, several talented and passionate people from the community were brought together to form an interim steering committee. They met with various stakeholders including representatives from Sturgeon Hospital, Alberta Health Services, City of St Albert, medical experts and representatives from the community. Upon learning from Alberta Health Services that long-term planning for palliative and end-of-life care was already underway, the Committee began looking more deeply into this subject in order to better understand the larger picture of palliative care needs across the province. The Edmonton Zone in general had significantly lower numbers of palliative spaces per capita than other areas such as the Calgary region. Again and again, from the mayor, to city counselors, to fellow citizens, our members learned that the community as a whole was supportive of this initiative. And more importantly, our spiritual leaders realized the scope of this project and knew there was no turning back!
In October, a town hall drew over 75 people interested in learning more about bringing this project to fruition, and in November 2013 a formal steering committee was established and the St Albert and Sturgeon Hospice Association (SASHA) held its first meeting. Shortly thereafter SASHA adopted as its mission: “To establish a space for enhanced compassionate end-of-life care for community members and their loved ones”.