When a life is destined to be short, doing whatever it takes to create memories is a priority – even if it means celebrating Christmas early.
A photo with Santa is one of those significant events, says Audrey Doyle, whose wish for the traditional photo of Father Christmas with daughter Rosalind came true at Canuck Place, a children’s hospice with two provincial locations in Vancouver and Abbotsford, British Columbia.
Mike and Audrey Doyle’s daughter Roz was born with Trisomy 18, a genetic condition also called Edwards Syndrome, and lived for just 29 days.
“We realized we wanted Roz to meet Santa so that we could have that classic photo, but we didn’t know how much time we would have,” says Ms. Doyle.
After mentioning it to a nurse on a Friday, the family was told that Santa would be visiting on Sunday.
“The great room was decorated, there was a Christmas village, a tree and stockings on a decorated mantle, and Santa handed out small gifts,” Ms. Doyle recalls.
Close family also attended the November event where the precious photo was taken. One week later, Roz passed away.
Living at Canuck Place enabled the family, including Roz’s two brothers Seth and Chase, to spend time with the baby while Canuck Place staff provided medical care and took care of meals.
“If we hadn’t had that support, we wouldn’t have as many positive memories, and it would have been a lot harder and lot scarier, and we would likely have been in and out of hospital,” says Ms. Doyle. “We can’t say enough about Canuck Place; although we have a caring and supportive extended family, the empathy of staff was very humbling.”
Canuck Place provides support to families like the Doyles at no cost. In addition to in-hospice clinical care, Canuck Place also provides pain and symptom management, 24-hour phone consultation support, music, art and recreation therapy, education, bereavement counselling, as well as end-of-life care. Donors contribute 60 per cent of the organization’s annual operating costs.
Learn more: canuckplace.org
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