The McLeod family of Abbotsford were introduced to Canuck Place in December of 2016. Son Oliver was only eight days old and, due to complications at birth, was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
Oliver’s parents, Melissa and Allan, were unfamiliar with Canuck Place’s work, but learned quickly the value of the care offered.
“Canuck Place was there for us to hold our hands, with expert care and guidance as Oliver’s condition worsened,” Melissa says. “They were at our side in-hospital and welcomed us into the hospice with warmth and love when it was time.”
Oliver passed away in February 2017 and Canuck Place helped the McLeods navigate through one of the hardest periods of their lives.
“Nothing that rocks you to your core like the loss of a child,” Melissa says. “In those darkest hours, when no one knows what to do, or what to say, when all hope seems lost, there are a few bright lights that shine through the darkness. Canuck Place is one of those lights.”
Having Canuck Place – Dave Lede House in Abbotsford has been so important to Melissa and Allan so they can access grief, loss, and bereavement counselling care in their community, close to home.
“Allan works in Langley and I am in Abbotsford,” Melissa says. “We are beyond grateful and forever thankful to have Canuck Place in Oliver’s life, while he was with us, and now while we continue to navigate through our grief.”
“Canuck Place gave us time,” Allan says. “With more than a few counselling sessions under our belt, we joined a bereavement group that operates out of Dave Lede House here in Abbotsford. It’s a nice place to simply sit with others who actually know what you are going through.”
Increased care for the Fraser Valley
In 2018, with donor support, Canuck Place increased in-home clinical consultations and introduced inpatient care at Dave Lede House with medical beds operating on a part-time basis. Following a strategic phase-plan, and the support of the Fraser Valley community and events like the Gift of Love Gala, Canuck Place is operating 24/7 inpatient care at Dave Lede House.
This expansion of care has had an immediate, direct impact on families. When a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, the 24-hour care parents must provide creates very real stresses, include financial pressures, relationship challenges, fatigue and distress. Increasing acute-care needs impact mental and physical health and overall quality of life for the entire family.
Families have access to medical respite care, pain and symptom management, art, music and recreation therapy, and end-of-life care, as well as grief, loss and bereavement counselling. At every stage in their journey, Canuck Place is there. All at no cost.
However, it’s only possible with the caring community of donors who support Canuck Place children and families.
Canuck Place raises 60 per cent of its annual operating costs so this exciting increase in services requires donor support to be fully realized and sustained.
Canuck Place families understand deeply the lessons of living. “Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love,” Melissa says. “It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just really love that is trying to find a place to go.”