Family matters: The story of the Silver Fox
By Kristy Inouye - Bruce Gilbert spent the last days of his life at the North Shore Hospice before passing away on August 11, 2014. Bruce, or “Brucie,” was also often referred to by the nickname “Silver Fox” in recognition of his strikingly silver hair. “He’d always been a fastidious dresser, always well-groomed,” recalls his daughter, Jay. However, as his health deteriorated and his energy waned, Bruce wasn’t able to take care of himself and maintain his appearance as he once used to.
His silvery hair grew uncharacteristically long. “It grew so long he made a comment,” recalls Jay. “It was the one little thing that my brothers and I wanted to do for him, to try and get a haircut.” They wanted to help, but were surprised how hard it was get a professional hair stylist to the hospice as quickly as they needed.
Jay soon heard about The Lipstick Project from the nursing staff at the hospice. She smiles as she recalls meeting Lisa, a TLP hair stylist. “She was like our little hair clipper angel,” says Jay. The hospice had also allowed Bruce’s dog, Tempête, to come in that day, and Tempête perched on Bruce’s lap as Lisa worked her magic. After the haircut, Bruce was offered a foot massage, which he later told Jay was the best massage and the only massage he had in his life. “My dad really enjoyed that day,” says Jay.
Jay knew her father as a genuine, comical, kind man with a lot of integrity. “He’s kind of my hero,” she says. “I was really proud to call him my dad.” Having his hair done on the day TLP visited, with his own dog perched happily on his lap, is a moment Jay says she wishes she had captured in a photo. “It was really fun to see,” she says. These moments of shared joy and personal flair are what TLP is all about.
Navigating the healthcare system and coming to terms with losing a loved one is not an easy journey. “I just wish everyone had the opportunity to have what we had,” says Jay.
Jay joined the Inspiring Care Unit as a Founding Member this January. She chooses to donate to TLP in honour of her father. She remembers that he taught her to give back and care for others, and now she hopes her support will help make the journey a bit easier for other families facing difficult times.
The Inspiring Care Unit is The Lipstick Project’s Monthly Giving Club. Established in 2015, the ICU brings together individuals, families and businesses who share our passion for bringing light + love to people in hospitals and hospices. ICU donors display sincere care for the people we serve by committing to regular financial donations ranging from $10 to $100 per month. This provides consistent, quality support to our volunteer teams.
Come alongside Jay and the ICU’s 32 other Founding Members and show your support for TLP volunteers - it would mean the world to us!