A facility created to allow out-of-town families to stay nearby while their children receive medical treatment at Victoria General Hospital celebrated its third birthday Tuesday in View Royal.
Jeneece Place – named for energetic young fundraiser Jeneece Edroff, who turned 21 the same day – has been a home away from home for more than 730 families since it opened in 2012.
Most come from Vancouver Island, but some have come from further reaches to have a place of respite while their children undergo operations, rehabilitation services or recover from accidents.
Linda Hughes, president and CEO of the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, which built and operates the 10-bedroom, fully outfitted house, said she has been surprised at the breadth of circumstances in which families that stay at the home find themselves in.
“The families are amazing, they’re people who maybe have a big family, maybe it’s a first child or a fifth, and they come from as far north as you can go,” she said.
Over the three years Jeneece Place has been welcoming families, one of the more common scenarios for guests has been the birth of a premature baby and/or the need for their infant to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, Hughes said. “I don’t think anyone understood that big trend.”
Another trend that has emerged, she said, is the use of the facility by parents who live in town, as a place to perhaps freshen up or rest when their child is in hospital for tests or their baby has to stay overnight. “It’s a refuge for them.”
Hughes, who has been with the foundation for about a year and a half, said any conversation about the value of Jeneece Place comes around to the amazing young woman who started it all.
“Thank God that Jeneece trusted her instincts, that because of her own personal experience that this was a much needed (project) and would be a very successful endeavour,” she said. “She trusted what she knew as a childhood (patient) and the community trusted her.”
Edroff, who still comes to the house regularly to help out, on top of her fundraising activities, was taken out for a special birthday meal with her parents as part of the anniversary celebration.
Speaking of fundraising, efforts are ongoing to keep the house running. It costs $350,000 per year to operate and is funded by donations from the community. The Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island accepts donations and issues tax receipts where applicable. To donate or find more information on Jeneece Place, visit childrenshealthvi.org or call 250-519-6977.