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Fitness fundraiser raises $11K for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice

Classes will gather donations to aid with pediatric palliative care
Dave Lede House, Abbotsford Hospice. (Photo courtesy Canuck Place)

B.C. community members were out of the house and on their feet to raise funds for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

The hospice, as well as fitness studios and gyms joined forces July 15 through 17 to run fitness classes dedicated to raising funds for pediatric palliative care.

Canuck Place is B.C. and the Yukon’s only pediatric palliative care service program, providing care for more than 800 youth (up to age 19) and families while operating 13 patient beds and eight family suites through two hospices in Vancouver and Abbotsford.

Participating studios included Innovative Fitness, Movement by NM, Pure Barre, Barre Fitness, F45, Body and Soul, Groundwork Athletics and more.

A child is in Canuck Place care for an average of seven years, and their family is on the bereavement program for three years. More than 800 children are living with life-threatening illnesses and there are families from five provincial health regions receiving Canuck Place inpatient and community care (in-home/in-hospital).

The Children’s Hospice says they empower children and family to have power in making decisions about their illness such as place of care, a place for end of life and emotional support.

While Canuck Place is still in the process of determining overall numbers for the campaign, as of now they said they have raised over $11,000 with the over 20 gyms and studios participated.

Money raised will go toward patient care services to improve quality of life including medical respite and family support, pain and symptom management, provincial 24-hour Clinical Care Line, music and recreation therapy, education and art, grief, loss and bereavement counselling as well as end-of-life care.

Live Well Exercise Clinic locations participated in the fundraiser at a total of six locations including Langley, Abbotsford, New Westminster, North Vancouver, White Rock and South Delta.

One-hundred per cent of all proceeds from classes running for the fundraiser are benefitting CPCH. Class styles at Live Well Exercise included 70’s theme-inspired workouts perfect for beginners and flexibility or relaxation exercises, said Sara Hodson, president and CEO of Live Well Exercise Clinic.

“I think that it’s incredibly important for local businesses to support local charities and to provide our members’ opportunity to give back to meaningful organizations like the meaningful work at Canuck Place,” she said. “A lot of charities and foundations have not been able to hold the typical events and galas that they usually would, to raise the much-needed funds to do their critical work so this is a really fun way to support not only support a local charity but in a way that we can all be active and contribute to our health.”

When a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, parents are impacted by the intense stresses of the 24-hour care they provide for their child, a news release said. This includes financial pressures, relationship challenges, fatigue, distress and increasing acute-care needs which impact mental and physical health and overall quality of life for B.C. families.

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Since 2015, Canuck Place has seen a 34 per cent increase in children and families in the program.

In 2020, nine-year-old Cameron Bulger was in the Canuck Place program and heartbreakingly died on May 16, 2020.

“We are grateful for the Canuck Place team who enabled us to care for Cameron at home, to spend time loving him and every moment we had with him. The entire Canuck Place team helped our family make memories, supported us through our grief, gave us time to be loving parents, and they took care of the rest. We couldn’t imagine navigating the loss of our Cameron without Canuck Place,” said Sharon Bulger, Cameron’s Canuck Place Mom.

Many Live Well members are connected to the fundraiser and excited to share their support, Hodson said.

“Our members have grandchildren and most of our members have at least a story of someone they know and love who has been cared for by Canuck Place,” Hodson said. “I think when we connect on that meaningful level, no one would ever hope that their loved one would need any type of palliative care, especially a child but for some of our members, especially grandparents, it hits home.”

Glen Brae facility at Vancouver Hospice. (Photo courtesy Canuck Place)
Live Well Exercise Clinic fitness class in session. (Photo courtesy of Live Well Exercise Clinic)