(Ottawa, ON) Thousands of people in around 80 countries will be singing, dancing, reciting poetry, speaking, listening and watching at more than 1,000 events marking World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2009 on Saturday 10 October.

In Canada, hospice palliative care professionals, volunteers, and family or informal caregivers will come together from October 18 – 21, 2009 in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the 2009 Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Conference. This conference is the foremost national conference in Canada focusing on hospice palliative care.

This year’s World Hospice and Palliative Care Day theme is ‘Discovering your voice’, highlighting the voices of those affected by life-limiting and terminal illnesses around the world. Hospice supporters, employees, patients, family members and carers are sharing their stories and messages about hospice and palliative care on the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day website at www.worldday.org/share-your-story. A story from Malaysia has been chosen as a unifying message to be read out at World Hospice and Palliative Care Day events around the world. In addition, a new YouTube channel will be launched (www.youtube.com/wpca09) featuring film footage and contributions from hospice and palliative care services and patients internationally.

This year the official fundraising event of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is ‘Voices for Hospices’ (www.worldday.org/voices-for-hospices), a global musical marathon consisting of a ‘Mexican wave’ of music across time zones. Hundreds of fundraising concerts will be taking place on the same day (10 October) at 7.30pm local time in around 80 countries.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day was launched by HRH Princess Anne in London in October 2005 with more than 1,100 events taking place in 74 countries, raising money and awareness for hospice care. Over the years high profile individuals such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bono, Sir Elton John, Dame Judi Dench and Gabriel Byrne have leant their support to the campaign. In 2008 it was officially sponsored by the World Health Organization.

To find out more about World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2009 or to post your story on the website, visit www.worldday.org or email worldday@helpthehospices.org.uk

You can also sign a petition calling for hospice and palliative care to be a human right by visiting: www.hospicecare.com/resources/pain_pallcare_hr