A moving tribute to a Toronto police officer at a Newmarket hospice brought joy to him and his family.
Members of the Toronto Police Service organized a drive-by parade for fellow officer Jason Drews, who had seven-year-old son Max, wife Jaimie Lao, and mother-in-law Mimi by his side for the surprise event outside Margaret Bahen Hospice on Queen Street yesterday.
“It was touching — more than I could have ever thought,” said Lao. “Jason was so touched.”
“It made me happy inside my heart. It gave Jason a chance to see how much love and support he has.”
“Surprised and happy” Max was thrilled at having the chance to see — and later sit in — the police vehicles, the Markham resident added.
“He will have a good childhood memory about this,” Lao said.
While Drews' ability to speak is limited currently, Lao said it meant the world to him that his friends and colleagues would do this for him.
Drews, who arrived at the hospice last Saturday, was a Toronto police officer for 23 years, she said.
Originally diagnosed with prostate cancer, Drews' cancer has spread to his spine and brain, and many of his colleagues were unaware of how quickly his condition had deteriorated in the last three weeks, she added.
Lao expresses her gratitude to the Toronto Police Service — “it was something from the heart” — and also to the staff at Margaret Bahen Hospice.
“The people there are like little angels,” said Lao. “They are (as) supportive and kind (as) some of my own family members. I have shared some of the most personal stuff with them. They are like my family.”
“It’s the place where he needed to be — almost overnight things changed,” she added. “I didn’t even know what a hospice was until this happened. I feel blessed that we are able to be there.”