Yes, I remember it well. Chattering teeth, frozen fingers, chilling winds and warm hearts.
It was a c-c-c-cold day in Abbotsford on February 23 on Eagle Mountain, but the warmth of genuine generosity finally won out as the Abbotsford Canuck Place Children's Hospice charity home at Eagle Estates was unveiled for the media.
That morning an 18-year-old temperature record of -7.3 degrees Celsius was broken with the new -9.3 mark, according to Environment Canada.
I remember Canuck Place marketing and communications coordinator Thomas Marshall quickly hopping into my warm Maxima GLE before the official ceremonies began. He was shivering and just shaking his head. It must have been the coldest mountain-top press event he'd ever been to.
But as the newspaper, radio and TV media, Abbotsford Mayor George Peary and the Canuck Place entourage (including CEO Filomena Nalewajek, communications/development guru Michele Cadario, and Canuck Place hospice board chair John Rose) arrived and braved the chills, the warmth began to build.
Donator Ken Voth (above left) and John Rose (right) just joked about the conditions.
And Abbotsford's city manager Frank Pizzuto smiled politely at the frozen visitors.
Many of the Canuck Place people, like Extending Our Reach campaign co-chair John Newell (below left) and his wife (in the purple jacket) were more than happy to strike a pose for photographers.
HomeLife realtor Ken Neufeld (below right) and Ken Voth warmed their insides and fingers with hot coffee.
It was so cold and windy that the coverings for the Canuck Place signs that were supposed to be unveiled for the media launch were removed ahead of time to avoid danger. The signage clearly stated that the home was donated by the Ken Voth Family Trust and Joseph Segal Family Foundation.
Media was eager to brave the elements to get their stories and photos, including Abbotsford social media leader Owen Greaves (up front with his camera phone).
The official press packages were distributed among the media members. The release said the following:
CANUCK PLACE CHARITY HOME OFFERS SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL BOOST
Proceeds from sale of new Eagle Estates home committed to hospice Extending Our Reach campaign
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Net proceeds from the sale of a luxury home from one of the most prestigious addresses in Abbotsford will significantly help Abbotsford Canuck Place Children’s Hospice reach its goal.
Long-time Fraser Valley resident and developer Ken Voth of Voth Bros. Developments Ltd. and Joe Segal of Kirkwood Capital Corporation are partnering in the donation of a stunning 3,494-square-foot Eagle Estates home located at 35623 Eagle View Place on Eagle Mountain.
Voth said Canuck Place offers enormous benefits to Fraser Valley families who need compassionate care.
“I’m impressed by the fact the 30,000-square-foot children’s hospice will double the capacity of the Vancouver house,” said Voth, adding that the new 10-bed, five family suite facility now under construction next to Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre will ease the pressures for those who live in the Fraser Health region and require important pediatric palliative services.
Canuck Place CEO Filomena Nalewajek expressed her sincere appreciation to Ken, Joe and the project realtor, trades and suppliers contributing their services to drive down the cost of the house.
“It’s wonderful news for Canuck Place. We are so appreciative of this significant and imaginative donation to our campaign,” said Nalewajek. "We are grateful for the generosity of all those involved, and most especially for leadership and support that Ken has demonstrated towards this project. He has played an instrumental role from its inception."
The buyer of the home will enjoy unobstructed mountain views and a quiet neighbourhood surrounded by natural greenery, parks and walking trails. The home’s stylish interior features seven-inch crown mouldings, painted raised panel doors, high-efficiency heating, granite countertops and custom-built maple cabinets.
John Rose, Canuck Place hospice board chair, said the Canuck Place Charity Home shows the creativity and generosity of people like Voth, Segal and their respective companies to make a difference in the community and in the lives of a growing number of families who need the care offered by Canuck Place.
Services include 24/7 physician and nursing support and consultation, end-of-life care, pain and symptom management, respite care, school, music and play therapy, recreation opportunities and counseling.
Canuck Place is part of the Campus of Care project being developed on Marshall Road, next to Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre. The campus includes Abbotsford Hospice Society's adult hospice and resource centre, and Matthew’s House, a long-term respite facility for children with chronic illnesses.
After the formalities were over and Canuck Place CEO Filomena Nalewajek and Mayor George Peary shared their compelling speeches, the poses were organized, and everyone went away smiling.
Cheers (and don't forget Abbotsford Canuck Place Children's Hospice as it launches its public campaign at the Campus of Care construction site).