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FVRD asked to help support children's hospice

Nearly half the 428 children who have received ‘end of life’ care at the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Vancouver come from the Fraser Valley, a hospice official told the Fraser Valley Regional Board last week.

Filomena Nalewajek, Canuck Place executive director, asked the FVRD board directors to consider becoming a partner in raising $13 million for an additional hospice in Abbotsford.

She said the new 10-bed hospice will be located next to the Abbotsford Regional Hospital, on land donated by the city, and will form a “campus of care” with Abbotsford Hospice Society and Matthew’s House, a respite facility for children with severe disabilities.

Hospice officials were alarmed when they realized they were meeting only about 25 per cent of the demand for children’s palliative care in the province, Nalewajek said.

“We’re calling on you to be a partner,” she told the FVRD board. “What we need is your help. We can only do what we do with the help of the communities.”

Only 20 per cent of the existing hospice’s funding comes from the B.C. government, while the rest comes from community fundraising and corporate support, including the Vancouver Canucks. Nalewajek said 80 per cent of donations go directly to the cost of care, which averages about $1,484 per bed per day.

The Canuck Place hospice opened in 1995 to provide specialized pediatric palliative care. The new hospice in Abbotsford will open in late 2013 or early 2014.

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