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'I was shocked that they were willing to go this far': B.C. palliative patient gifted beloved pizza for meaningful meal

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After spending more than four months in hospital, Sanjeeve Seeburn and his wife Sandy were thinking back on that “magical” summer day they spent at a rural lavender farm.

“So beautiful,” Sandy Seeburn recalls with a big smile. “So peaceful.”

And the wood-fired pizza they were served there, Sanjeeve says, is the best he ever had.

“It was amazing,” he says from his hospital bed. “I never forgot that flavour.”

Sanjeeve wondered if experiencing it again with Sandy might help them cope with the sudden diagnosis that he was suffering from a rare and aggressive cancer.

“He always say, ‘Be positive. Keep going,’” Sandy says.

So Sanjeeve sent a message to the Bilston Creek lavender farm, which was received by events manager Karen Grundlingh.

“We couldn’t believe what we were reading,” Karen recalls.

Sanjeeve wrote that he was in palliative care, with just weeks to live, and hoped to taste their pizza one last time.

“It’s his wish,” Karen says. “Why wouldn’t we do it?!”

So although it was the off-season and they weren’t serving any food, the staff at Bilston Creek spent two days preparing the outdoor oven that had been dormant all winter, and scrambling to source the ingredients for the handmade dough and fresh toppings to make the pizza Sanjeeve had remembered so fondly.

“It begins with our own tomato sauce,” chef Sandi Iriving says while creating the pizza. “Then mozzarella cheese, kale from our local farmers, artichoke hearts, chicken, and Moroccan olives.”

As Sandi drizzles olive oil and sprinkles salt along the crust to ensure a satisfying last bite, she reveals the pizza’s most important ingredient with a giggle: “Love!”

Sandi was one of a number of people who came in on their day off to grant Sanjeeve’s wish.

Bilston Creek’s owner Andrew Penn provided all the food – plus the 45-minute drive from the farm in Metchosin to the hospital in Victoria – for free.

“I was shocked that they were willing to go this far,” Sanjeeve says, smiling. “I was just ordering a pizza.”

But then again, Sanjeeve says, this is not about pizza — this is about kindness.

He hoped that by sharing his story, others will be inspired to spread kindness too.

“Then the world will be a very better place to live,” Sanjeeve says. “And we can have hope for this world.”

When Karen delivers the pizzas to the hospital room, Sandy greets her with a big hug. Then Sanjeeve opens the box, and takes a moment to relish the aroma, before taking his first bite and giving a thumbs up.

“I don’t have words,” Sandy cries, stroking her husband’s head. “It touched my heart. I am so happy.”

Sanjeeve is so thankful that he could share the pizza with the health-care team that he couldn’t be more grateful for. And thankful that, although a hospital bed in the winter couldn’t be more different than a lavender field in the summer, he could have one more meaningful meal with his beloved Sandy by his side.

“Enjoy every day, every second, every moment you have in your life,” Sanjeeve says. “You never know tomorrow how you’re going to wake up.”

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