A million for Matthew's House, part of Abbotsford's Campus of Care

BC Health Minister Michael de Jong (second from left) presents a cheque for over $1 million to Andrea and Doug Froese as Steve Thiessen (left), CEO of Communitas, looks on. The money will go to constructing and operating Matthew
BC Health Minister Michael de Jong (second from left) presents a cheque for over $1 million to Andrea and Doug Froese as Steve Thiessen (left), CEO of Communitas, looks on. The money will go to constructing and operating Matthew's House, which will provide respite care for kids living with severe disabilities.
— image credit: Photo by Jason Brown/Revival Arts

Matthew’s House’s fundraising campaign received a $1-million boost, thanks to the provincial government.

The announcement of a $1,025,000 donation was made by Health Minister Michael de Jong on Friday night during a special reception at the Phoenix Lounge.

The funding will be added to the $1.16 million in donations already raised for the capital project which is expected to begin construction by mid-2012.

“This gift from the province is not only a shot in the arm, it will provide us with the foundation to make sure the building is up by next year,” said Tom Balke, stewardship director with Communitas Supportive Care Society, which is the charitable organization working with Matthew’s house.

Balke said the fundraising goal is $4.125 million for both the construction of the facility and operating funds.

The funding will ensure they have fully qualified nursing and support staff to care for the residents.

Matthew’s House is a proposed five-bed residence that will provide long-term respite care for children and adolescents who live with a significant disability. At the same time, it will help support and encourage the families of these children.

The idea for the house was created by Andrea and Doug Froese, whose son Matthew suffered from severe birth asphyxia, which left him completely dependent on his parents’ care.

Matthew was the inspiration for the new house, part of Abbotsford’s Campus of Care which includes Canuck Place and the Abbotsford Hospice Society. Although Matthew passed away in August of 2010, the Froese family continues to help fundraise for the facility that will bear his name.

They were on hand Friday night to accept the cheque from de Jong.

Andrea thanked the province for its support to carry on Matthew’s legacy and for “standing alongside the families who also have brave little souls who will benefit from Matthew’s House.”

“I want Matthew’s House to be a place where we can come alongside families with similar challenges and let them know that they are doing a good job and it’s okay that they are tired. Matthew’s House is here to relieve that a little, to offer some rest.”

Reading from a prepared speech, Andrea told the crowd about the day Matthew passed away.

“It was very unexpected for us. I wasn’t there. When I did arrive, and I apologize if this sounds strange, he had a big smile on his face. I believe number one, it’s because he liked where he was going. But I also think he knew that he was leaving this Earth knowing he had unlocked a lot of goodness and that he could entrust us to carry on his message. He was free to go because he knew that we were beginning to understand what was needed in the lives of kids like himself.”


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