Andrew Putt’s daughter, Lilee-Jean passed away in 2013 at Canuck Place, two years after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.
The entire family made the most of those two years, creating Lilee-Jean’s list, a living list of things they wanted to experience with her in the short time they would have together.
They packed a lifetime of memories into those years. They traveled to Disneyland, transforming Lilee-Jean into a princess for the day, complete with a birthday visit from Cinderella.
Lilee-Jean went to dance lessons and music class, water slides and the movies. And in her last summer, Santa brought her an early white Christmas.
Despite long hospital stays and frequent treatments, Lilee-Jean remained a vibrant little girl who sang and danced everywhere she went.
When she first came to Canuck Place, she set up house in the Topsy Turvey outdoor playhouse, inviting family in to see the little home that was all her own.
The staff and volunteers at Canuck Place welcomed Lilee-Jean and her family with open arms.
“Canuck Place might be the most important building you will ever enter,” said Andrew. “The staff are the most compassionate and caring people you’ll ever meet.”
A dedicated team of doctors and nurses, cooks and counsellors protected the family and anticipated their every need.
“As a father it’s important to be able to do everything you can for your child and provide anything they need,” explained Andrew. “Being at Canuck Place allowed this. At the drop of a hat we could get her any food, or any toys, or any help she needed. It made me feel that I was being the best dad I could be during that time.”
Lilee-Jean and her family spent less than two weeks at Canuck Place. One day in September, she passed away in her mother’s arms while her father strummed his guitar.
“In the sanctuary of Canuck Place, the three of us – two broken hearts and one dying little girl – got to be a family one last time,” said Andrew.
Since that day, Andrew has remained connected with Canuck Place, utilizing grief & loss counselling, which is an integral part of the services offered to families.
“To lose a child is the worst pain a parent could ever experience,” Andrew said. “But this place and the people inside helped give us the opportunity to cherish every minute we could with our child. They’ve continued to provide use with the tools we need to survive.”
You can help support families like Andrew and Lilee-Jean. Make a donation to Canuck Place today.