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Page-turner becomes fundraiser

Teresa Carey

Winnipeg author Kim Malchuk was in Gimli to sign copies of her inspirational book Tasting Rain at the Gimli Community Health Centre on May 5.

The 49-year-old author will be donating 100 per cent of the proceeds from book sales at the health centre to palliative care in northeast Interlake in honour of Palliative Care Awareness Week, which was held this year from May 1 to 7.

"This whole project was about giving back," she said.

Malchuk's husband, Mel, passed away in May 2005 at the age of 46 after living with cancer for six years. In chapter five of her book Malchuk writes about moving in with her husband at the palliative ward of St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg.

"I'll never forget the compassionate care we both received. That was the first time someone said, 'Hey, how are you doing?' When you hear palliative care you think scary, frightening. It was anything but," she said.

Doctors had initially given Mel only three months to live.

"We both said no. We learned to focus on today," said Malchuk. She attributes his survival for six more years to the power of love, and reaching for a greater meaning in life.

"We're all connected. I think people can see themselves reflected in this story. (The book) is not just about loss. It is about life. It's a story about weathering the storms of life. There are not a lot of books from the caregiver's side of it. It's really made a difference in people's lives," Malchuk said.

Her first attempt at writing, the book was self-published in November 2009 with an official launch at McNally Robinson Booksellers the following month. It made it onto the Manitoba best-seller list for 2010. To date, Malchuk has sold 1,500 copies by herself.

"I gave up the corporate life to share our story. Who would have thought it would become an award winning best-seller?" said Malchuk, who was working as a sales executive with Pattison Outdoor Advertising before focussing exclusively on the promotion of her book.

Tasting Rain has recently been picked up by Five Star Publications in Arizona with plans to re-release it next month in the U.S. The book earned first place in Five Star's Royal Dragonfly Book Award in the self help/inspirational category for 2011.

The book has also been submitted in the Hollywood Book Festival, which will occur in June 2011. Malchuk is hoping it will be reviewed for a motion picture.

Government funding for palliative care in the northeast Interlake district is not currently available. Programs are 100 per cent volunteer-driven. Every dollar for programming is raised through various fundraising activities, explained Sarah Pinsent, palliative care coordinator in the northeast Interlake; spanning from Matlock to Hecla Island.

Copies of Malchuk's book will continue to be available in Gimli at the health centre.

Again, all proceeds will be donated to northeast Interlake palliative care.

To obtain a copy, contact Pinsent at 642-4597.

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