Casey House has a long and proud history in Toronto. Founded by a group of volunteers in 1988, Casey House was Canada’s first stand-alone treatment facility for people with HIV/AIDS, and the first free-standing hospice in Ontario. At that time, many people were dying alone, cut off from the support of family and friends due to stigma and misplaced fear. This isolation even extended to the medical community. Our very first client was delivered to the door by a team of medics wearing hazmat suits. He was greeted by Casey House with an embrace. It was the first time he’d been touched in months.
Our founders’ believed that everyone deserves to be cared for with dignity and compassion, so they created new approaches to palliative care, and played a leading role in both end-of-life care and HIV/AIDS care set in a home environment.
June Callwood, one of the founders of Casey House, was one of the most exceptional and respected voices in Canada, as a career journalist and writer. She received acclaim for her thousands of articles and columns for national newspapers and magazines, hosted several television programs, and authored dozens of books, many related to the social justice issues about which she was passionate.
June didn’t just write about injustices: she felt compelled to help. She was a strong activist and advocate across numerous causes, from poverty and illness including HIV, to racism, homophobia, censorship, and women and children in crisis. During her lifetime, she helped to create Nellie’s, one of Canada’s first shelters for women in crisis, Jessie’s Centre for Teenagers (now the June Callwood Centre for Women and Families), and Casey House, Canada’s first HIV/AIDS hospice. Casey House was named after June’s son Casey Frayne, who was killed in 1982 at the age of 20 by an impaired driver while riding his motorcycle to university.
Since its inception, Casey House has been lovingly maintained as a warm and welcoming place, not just for people to die, but for people to get better. We have evolved over the years, delivering an enriched model of care to all of our clients, both within Casey House and in the community so that no one needs to manage the advanced stages of HIV alone.
Casey House is a registered charity, relying on the generosity of our donor and volunteer community to provide our services. We remain the only dedicated HIV/AIDS health care organization in Toronto for people living with the advanced stages of HIV/AIDS.
In 2013 we celebrated our 25th anniversary, which was a time to reflect on how far we’ve come, and to look ahead towards all that is still left to do.
To learn more about June Callwood, please read the biography of her incredible life.