2024 Spring Newsletter

Read our newsletter

Van Oosterom family Van Oosterom family

Table of Contents

Van Oosterom Family Van Oosterom Family

A home for families when home isn’t within reach

The greatest gift from Canuck
Place is experiencing life with Ethan as if he was home with us and as a complete family.

Derek and Rebecca Van Oosterom

Canuck Place Parents

For parents, the news that your baby’s life could be shorter than expected can be hard to come to terms with. This was the case for Derek and Rebecca Van Oosterom when their son Ethan was diagnosed with an extremely rare chromosomal disorder.

Wanting to hold onto Ethan for as long as possible, the introduction to Canuck Place and the decision to move him to comfort care was difficult, knowing that meant his time with them would be shorter than they hoped.

Derek, Rebecca and their two daughters arrived at Canuck Place, and were able to spend quality time together as a family while the Canuck Place team supported Ethan’s medical needs.

While their stay at Canuck Place was short, it gave the Van Oosteroms a chance to make memories together. Canuck Place recreation therapists facilitated profound memory-making experiences, from molding Ethan’s tiny hands and feet to capturing precious pictures. It was the simple pleasures of being together as a family that the Van Oosteroms say are some of their most cherished moments.

“The greatest gift from Canuck Place is experiencing life with Ethan as if he was home with us and as a complete family. Having his siblings and grandparents meet him in a setting that felt like home was invaluable. Home cooked meals, a comfortable bed, and the feeling that a team was ready to step in if his situation worsened, made our
time at Canuck Place significant in a way we didn’t even know.”

In the time they had left together, the Van Oosterom family made meaningful memories that they treasure, keeping Ethan close even after his passing. Canuck Place counsellors continue to support the whole family, offering presence and providing a safe space to navigate their complex journey of grief.

Canuck Place recreation therapist with Canuck Place child

Celebrating the joy and inclusivity of recreation therapy

February was National Recreation Therapy Month, celebrating the inclusive and transformative activities that have a big impact on children and families. Canuck Place recreation therapists are excellent at organizing personalized, engaging activities that cater to the unique needs and abilities of each child. Through adaptive sports, creative arts, and interactive games, they strive to foster joy and enhance well-being.

“We work with children and youth who have a range of abilities,” explains Amy Wightman, Canuck Place Recreation Therapist. “We always meet a child or youth wherever they are at-not changing anything about them, or what they are able to do. Rather, we adapt our activity so there aren’t any barriers to their participation.”

Roberto Luongo with Canuck Place staff, families, and volunteers

Celebrating a fan-favourite friend of Canuck Place

Vancouver Canucks icon and Hockey Hall of Famer, Roberto “Lu” Luongo, visited Canuck Place Vancouver – Glen Brae Manor following his induction to the Ring of Honour. Lu spent heartfelt moments with Canuck Place children, families, and staff, sharing smiles and stories, lighting up the hospice with his warmth. Canuck Place presented him with a jersey signed by Canuck Place staff and families in appreciation of his continued support and generosity. We are grateful for supporters like Lu, who continue to make a difference in the lives of those we serve.

Dr. Kim Widger at Canuck Place Grand Rounds

Canuck Place Research Initiative hosts visiting scholar

The Canuck Place Research Initiative hosted visiting scholar, Dr. Kim Widger, who works out of the Bloomberg School of Nursing at the University of Toronto and SickKids Hospital.

Dr. Widger met with 24 Canuck Place staff and collaborators, engaging in meaningful discussions about the quality of pediatric palliative care. Dr. Widger and Canuck Place Medical Director, Dr. Hal Siden, also met with the BC Collaborative Palliative Care Research Group, an organization of adult and pediatric palliative care researchers from across the province. Together, they engaged in discussions on how quality of care can support patients.

The Canuck Place Research Initiative is committed to improving pediatric palliative care for children and their families

Canuck Place families at Rogers Arena for Canucks family skate

A whale of a time!

On February 14, generous friends at the Canucks for Kids Fund and the Vancouver Canucks (including mascot Fin), invited Canuck Place children and families to skate at Rogers Arena. This fun annual event is made possible thanks to the Canuck Place recreation therapy team who work so hard to create special memories for children and families.

Canuck Place siblings eating cookies

Canuck Place is where the cookie jar is always full

This year’s Milk & Cookies for Canuck Place fundraiser, presented by BC Dairy, was a delightful success, with 11 generous bakeries, 15 schools, and the Abbotsford Canucks joining forces to support Canuck Place care. This fundraiser demonstrates the sweet impact of community collaboration in supporting the vital services provided by Canuck Place.

Pratha Batra, Canuck Place Major Gifts Coordinator; Cece Angus, Scotia Wealth Management, The Angus Group - Wealth Advisor, Portfolio Manager; Stevie Felton, Scotia Wealth Management, The Angus Group - Private Banker

Building a movement of caring hearts

The Canuck Place Connectors Program launched at the Kostuik Gallery in February and celebrated community leadership and philanthropy. Canuck Place Nurse Practitioner, Camara van Breemen, spoke about community based care in-home and the impact on children and families. Canuck Place CEO, Denise Praill, led a panel discussion with Connectors program leads Anna Baird, Robert Coard, and Amrit Maharaj. Their stories of service and commitment to Canuck Place highlighted the connection between philanthropy and leadership, and why they are champions of this program.

Canuck Place Connectors are community leaders who pledge their support at the $5,000+ level annually and become a part of an intentional group with shared values, united in their support of the care Canuck Place provides.

A special thank you to program sponsor Citrine Foundation for their general $50,000 match.

Learn more about Canuck Place Connectors

How can you help?

There are so many ways to give. You can support complex care for children with life-threatening illnesses and families in BC and the Yukon. With your help, Canuck Place will support them in living the end of life as fully as the beginning.