Canuck Place is where brave and vulnerable hearts are found. We’re here to support dads like Nick, through the difficulty of losing their child.
Nick Fraser and his family were first introduced to Canuck Place when their son Kolbi was seriously ill with brain cancer. He recalls when Nurse Practitioner Rachel first came to their busy home to meet Kolbi.
“Of course he insisted on showing her all of his Paw Patrol toys. In the moment Rachel arrived, we knew we were in the best possible hands. You could see Rachel’s love and care for Kolbi and the rest of our family right from that first meeting.”
Nick felt like his family had known Rachel their whole lives. The ease they felt when meeting her and the Canuck Place team was a huge relief.
As Kolbi’s conditioned worsened, it became apparent that the Fraser family wanted to be at home as much as possible for Kolbi’s end-of-life care.
When children have been diagnosed with a progressive life-threatening condition, Canuck Place nurses provide specialized end-of-life care through the Enhanced Community Care Program. This includes extensive care coordination in-home and in the hospital across BC and the Yukon, and working with healthcare professionals in the community to ensure families receive the right care at the right time. Families and clinicians can also call the 24-Hour Clinical Care Line, where they can speak with our clinical team and ask questions ranging from the everyday care of a child to complex issues surrounding medications, pain and symptom management, and end-of-life support.
In-home visits with the Enhanced Community Care program look different from day-to-day, family-to-family. “If we were having a hard day Rachel would come by on her way home from work with cookies in hand and talk to us about how we could make things better, for example managing Kolbi’s pain level or mood swings,” explains Nick.
“Kolbi was a bit of a monkey and he was so determined to move even once he was paralyzed. He was always pulling his catheter out by accident, trying to crawl to get to his stuffed animals. We would call Rachel and she would come quickly to replace it.”
Canuck Place gave the Frasers a sense of empowerment when it came to Kolbi’s care. During the summer of 2020, they wanted to embark on a cross-Canada road trip, and without Canuck Place, this beautiful family memory would have been more difficult.
“Rachel made our road trip possible by organizing medication, paperwork, and even showing us how to replace that pesky catheter if needed. She made us feel supported and able to care for Kolbi. Our trip was five weeks long and we built so many incredible memories, camping and travelling throughout Canada. These memories were amazing for our whole family. We still look back through our photos regularly,” said Nick.
Support for families like the Frasers on the Canuck Place program, continues after their child dies, for up to four years on average. After the passing of their beloved Kolbi, the family continues to feel fully supported in their grief. They have access to counselling services and can make an appointment when they need it, particularly around sensitive times such as anniversaries and special dates like Kolbi’s birthday. Nick notes that Rachel is still an important part of their story and every time he sees her, he just wants to hug her.
“The care we received at Canuck Place was amazing and there are no words that can completely describe it,” Nick explains. “It made Kolbi’s last year and a half of his life brighter and manageable. Our team helped us navigate the medical changes Kolbi went through as well as the emotional rollercoaster ride that came with them. Everyone going through losing a child needs care like we received at Canuck Place.”
Strength can sometimes be found in broken places, and Nick continues to find strength by embracing big emotions and continuing to find hope through the difficulty of losing Kolbi.
This Father’s Day, you can help Canuck Place dads like Nick find strength every day. Our donors and supporters make it possible for kids like Kolbi to enjoy their lives that are far too short. Nick and his family are forever grateful for all of the memories Canuck Place helped them build as a family in Kolbi’s last years – which wouldn’t be possible without your donations. Donate wait. Donate. canuckplace.org