Sisters Betty Tough and Patricia O’Connor were first introduced to Canuck Place when Betty’s grandson received a complex medical diagnosis requiring the specialized care offered by the Canuck Place team.

Sisters Betty Tough and Patricia O’Connor were first introduced to Canuck Place when Betty’s grandson received a complex medical diagnosis requiring the specialized care offered by the Canuck Place team.

Loving hearts and helping hands: Celebrating Canuck Place Volunteers

By Kelsey Davis

Volunteering at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice has been an important part of Betty Tough and Patricia O’Connor’s lives for more than a decade. The sisters were first introduced to Canuck Place when Betty’s grandson received a complex medical diagnosis requiring the specialized care offered by the Canuck Place team.

“I am a Canuck Place Grandma,” says Betty. “My first connection to Canuck Place came in 2004 when my grandson, Andrew, and our family, were so lovingly cared for by the compassionate people who work and volunteer at Canuck Place. When it was decided to open a second Canuck Place hospice location in Abbotsford, it felt like a good way to give back.”

Patricia followed in her sister’s footsteps, recognizing the impact the team at Canuck Place had on her family, as well as the importance of community support during extremely difficult times.

Canuck Place Children’s Hospice is the only pediatric palliative care provider in BC and Yukon. Last year alone, over 818 children living with life-threatening illnesses and families received care. Through Canuck Place, children and their families can access medical care, respite care, grief and bereavement counselling, education, recreation and music therapy at Dave Lede House in Abbotsford and Glen Brae House in Vancouver. Additionally, Canuck Place provides patients and their families a choice for care in the home.

Each sister has taken on different volunteer roles within the walls of Canuck Place. You can often find Betty sitting at reception, warmly greeting families coming and going, or writing thank you cards. She is also a member of Canuck Place’s grief support team, supporting families who have lost a child.

Patricia shares her time in the heart of Canuck Place, the kitchen. Kitchen volunteers like Patricia lovingly prepare hot meals twice a day, seven days a week, ensuring families feel the comforts of home while staying at Canuck Place. Patricia carries a key title. She is one of the bakers behind the world-famous Canuck Place cookies.

Betty and Patricia are two of over 400 volunteers who give their time and love to Canuck Place. These incredibly valued members of the Canuck Place team provide essential support. From playing with children and siblings, to caring for the beautiful gardens, to greeting worried families at reception, volunteers are truly the backbone of the organization.

The fear and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly challenging for the children and families at Canuck Place. But volunteers like Betty and Patricia have generously stepped up to find ways to support the kids and their families from across BC, like joining a virtual recreation therapy session or saying hello during a virtual school lesson.

“To say it takes a special type of person to volunteer at Canuck Place is an understatement,” says Jessica Tremblay, Director of Volunteer and Support Services. “The volunteers bring joy and comfort to the kids and their family members, many times during the midst of simply unimaginable circumstances. They keep our garden and grounds beautiful, they support with meals, cleaning, raising important funds for care and so much more! Our volunteers touch almost every aspect of our work. They step up in countless ways that allow Canuck Place to deliver exceptional care. Their (in-person) presence has been greatly missed throughout the pandemic and the last year has reinforced just how much we value them and their beautiful talents.”

For Betty, volunteering at Canuck Place has helped in her healing in the loss of her grandson. Being able to give back to other families like hers has allowed her navigate her own journey with grief and be a source of support and love for others.

“While the stories of children are incredibly sad, the time they spend at Canuck Place is filled with joy, laughter, and support from everyone in the building,” says Betty. “Canuck Place is a place where vulnerable children and their families are treated with respect and love.”

To donate to the care at Canuck Place visit canuckplace.org/donate.

Currently, Canuck Place is not actively onboarding new volunteers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about the volunteer program for to submit your application for a future volunteer role please go to canuckplace.org/volunteers.

FamiliesHealth

Just Posted

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

A memorial to former Abbotsford and RCMP police officer Shinder Kirk in Cedar, B.C. Kirk died in a car accident on Cedar Road in December 2018. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Trial begins for driver involved in car crash that killed retired Abbotsford police sergeant

RCMP accident reconstructionist takes stand in trial of Conrad Nikolaus Wetten

This vehicle is suspected of being involved in a suspicious incident on Friday (May 7) on Mouat Drive in Abbotsford.
Driver in Abbotsford tries to lure teen girl into his vehicle

Man tells 14-year-old that her mom sent him to pick her up

The map shows the number of COVID-19 cases for the week of April 25 to May 1. The darkest areas indicate communities with a daily average of more than 20 cases per 100,000 population. (BC Centre of Disease Control)
Surrey and Abbotsford battle for top COVID hotspot in Fraser Health

Two communities are among areas across province showing highest transmission

Country music star Brett Kissel enters the Clayburn Village Store, which is one of several featured Abbotsford locations in his recent video “Make A Life, Not A Living”. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Abbotsford featured in Canadian country star Brett Kissel’s latest music video

The Clayburn Village Store, Nomad Auto Sales and farm land in Matsqui showcased in popular video

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read