20 Years of Canuck Place

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

Canuck Place Children’s Hospice is marking its 20th anniversary this year, after first opening its doors in November of 1995 and becoming North America’s first free-standing children’s hospice.

Glen Brae, 1690 Matthews Avenue (1910)

Having attended the annual Canuck Place Gift of Time Gala for a few years now, I have heard about their incredible work and impact in the community first-hand, from families and volunteers. In 20 years they have helped so many families and I wanted to share a bit more of their story.

20 Years of Canuck Place

Canuck Place supports over 600 of BC’s children and families with respite and family support, pain and symptom management for complex medical needs, art and education, recreation therapy, grief and loss counselling including music and play therapy, and end-of-life care.

“If you love something, love it completely, cherish it, say it, but most importantly, show it.”

“Everyday at Canuck Place I am reminded to make the most of every moment,” CEO Margaret McNeil told the audience of hundreds at the Gift of Time Gala this year. “It’s the courage of these families that reminds us how to be in our own lives.”

In 2009, Canuck Place recognized that we were reaching only 20-25% of children and families in need of pediatric palliative care in BC. Armed with passion, experience and a growing team of inspired individuals and partners, they embarked on a quest to open a second hospice location. The vision for Canuck Place – Dave Lede House, located in Abbotsford, was born.

Canuck Place Gift of Time Gala

The Gift of Time Gala is a wonderful event that showcases the love, care, and support the Canuck Place offers. Throughout the evening this year there were musical presentations, including some songs from Canuck Place music therapist Karin Roberts, as well as a story from a Canuck Place Family, the Rosses.

“We are here tonight because for many families, things don’t go as planned,” Regan Ross told the Gift of Time crowd. Regan and Amy’s daughter Gabrielle was on the Canuck Place program. The house served as a place of comfort for their whole family. Allowing them, and a specialized medical team, to tend to their daughter’s needs in comfort. After Gabrielle passed, her parents and brothers have relied on the Canuck Place counselling team and bereavement groups.

“How do you raise a child you know is going to die?” They told of their exhausting experiences at hospitals and how the staff at Canuck Place were like angels from heaven for them, it felt like they were being rescued when they were introduced. “You fall to your knees and Canuck Place picks you up.”

Canuck Place not only offers end-of-life care, but they work with families throughout the entire span of a child’s life; from the point of diagnosis and progression of illness, to death and beyond. They provide clinical care, respite care, nursing phone support, recreation therapy, counselling, end of life car, education & art, and more.

If you would like to support Canuck Place, there’s no time like the present to make your donation. Celebrating 20 years, let’s make sure they are around for another 20 (and beyond) to support BC families. Follow Canuck Place on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information about their community and events.

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