Mission retiree Matilda “Tillie” Grant, 84, recently travelled back to her childhood home of Welland, Ontario, for a reunion with her five sisters, thanks to the efforts of Wish of a Lifetime Canada and Chartwell Retirement Residences. / MAK Photography

Mission senior’s wish was granted

Matilda ‘Tillie’ Grant took a trip back to her childhood home and reunited with her sisters

Stuart Neatby


In the space of just a few weeks, 84-year-old Mission retiree Matilda “Tillie” Grant went from feeling isolated and alone to being smothered in hugs from sisters she had not seen in nearly two decades.

Grant was given the chance to take a trip back to her childhood home of Welland, Ontario, for a reunion with her five sisters, thanks to the efforts of Wish of a Lifetime Canada and Chartwell Retirement Residences. She had not seen her sisters for over 17 years. The reunion was put in motion by a staff member at the Chartwell Carrington House Retirement Residence, where Grant currently resides.

“I was feeling down and I was telling her, ‘You know what? I’m from such a big family and I’ve got no family support. I feel so alone,’ ” Grant said in a phone interview.

Grant wanted nothing more than to see her sisters and to hug them, she said.

Staff at Chartwell Carrington House set about making this wish a reality. They applied to Wish of a Lifetime Canada, a charity that strives to fulfill the dreams of seniors.

Weeks later, Grant was on a flight to Welland, where she would be reunited with her sisters Shirley Veltry, Jean Hopkins, Molly Cote, Margaret Wallace and Anne Colds. The sisters spent two days together, swapping stories over games of bridge, crib and euchre.

“I just enjoyed every minute I could with them,” said Grant.

Most of Grant’s remaining sisters had remained in Welland. Her family had a long connection to the town. Grant’s father was even the bridge master for the famous Welland ship canal, which links Lake Ontario and Lake Erie through the Niagara Peninsula.

Grant says that her family was poor but close-knit when she was growing up. She eventually moved west with her husband, who has since passed away.

Jennifer White, the lifestyle and program manager at Chartwell Carrington House, has known Grant to be a very active senior, who is often seen crocheting hats for local charities serving the needy. But White said that she has noticed a huge change in Grant since her return.

“She was just so ecstatic,” said White.

“You could almost see a huge weight lifted off her shoulders.”

White hopes that Grant’s story will inspire other seniors, and will also raise awareness among other members of the community.

“I think it’s really important for the people to realize that just because we’re aging doesn’t mean you have to stop dreaming and living a life with a purpose,” she said.

Just Posted

Trial underway in marijuana ‘compassion club’ case

Bob Woolsey of Mission says police abused their power in 2015 investigation

Boy, 15, reported missing from Abbotsford

Kailum Staples was last seen on Nov. 10

PHOTOS: 22nd annual Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival

Photographers and onlookers come out to see the spectacle

Mission Christmas Bureau now open

This year’s goal is to top the $100,000 mark to help those in need

Maple Ridge mayor talks ‘Nasty women’ in politics

On SFU panel discussion Wednesday in PoCo

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival

This year’s event featured six stops, including viewing points and activity centres.

Methadone treatment not as effective for mentally ill, homeless: study

SFU study suggests unstable housing makes it hard to stick to treatment regimen

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Port Mann, Golden Ears traffic up since tolls removed: report

City staff report says congestion woes easing on Pattullo Bridge as a result

Convicted child sex offender’s sixth lawyer resigns before sentencing

One time school board candidate Corey Neyrinck case delayed in BC Supreme Court yet again

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

TransLink mulls distance-based fares, low-income discounts

Metro Vancouver transit agency launches final phase of fare review

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Most Read