SASKATOON -- The Close to Home Foundation has moved closer to its fundraising goal of $20 million to bring better hospice and end-of-life care to Saskatchewan.

Local philanthropist and longtime financial supporter of St. Paul’s Hospital, Joe Remai, has donated $500,000, raising the fundraising total to $19.5 million.

“I think this is my fourth donation, as I recall back say 50 years ago, we made a small donation at that time, money was worth a lot more,” Remai said. “Like I said I'm in my twilight years and I like to give.”

Remai’s contributions haven’t gone unnoticed.

“It means everything to the Close to Home campaign,” said Lecina Hicke, CEO of St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation. “It's our goal to realize Saskatchewan’s first freestanding residential hospice and to improve end of life care in our province and access to it.”

St. Paul’s Hospital executive director Karen Barber reflected on Remai’s contribution.

“St. Paul’s Hospital would simply not be what is today without your generosity,” said Barber. “Your gift will help Saskatchewan residents live their lives to the fullest in their time of need as they journey toward end of life.”

Construction on the hospice at Glengarda on Hilliard Street began in May with work set to continue into next year. Upon completion, the facility is expected to raise the number of palliative care beds in Saskatoon to 27 from 12.