Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Thank you

Thank you to Paul Robson of CIBC. He donated $100 to the cause!
Paul is involved with another association called Sing Around (

Check them out!

Monday, 25 February 2008

Why I am at Canuck Place

I don't know. I am happy I am there but I am not really sure why I am. I started back in 2004 (I think) when I contacted the House looking for somewhere to volunteer. Being a lifelong Canucks fan maybe I just gravitated to the House. I was in contact with Susan Dickson, the volunteer coordinator at the time. Susan retired 2 years ago after being with the house since it opened.
It was the only interview I have ever been in that I cried. She was very determined to make sure that the volunteers she got would work out. I saw her last year at the Gift of Time fundraiser and she said she was happily surprised to see me still around!

To be a family volunteer each person goes through a 30 hour orientation and education about the House, how the house is operated, bereavement education, music therapy, and a variety of other things to know when in the house.

If you are interested in becoming part of Canuck Place contact Leanne Freeman who is the Volunteer Services Coordinator.


Friday, 22 February 2008

bike to work

It counts. Riding to work counts as training. All 14km round trip. Although I have just started and have taken my bike less than 20 times I feel that my legs are stronger. This is good.

Ride to work if you can!:

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

the training

I am a non trainer.
In the past I would do triathlons. I would swim a little. I would ride a little. I would run more, but that is because it was easier to do.

Now I ride my bike to work. I am training beyond any imaginative scope I have ever done for events like these! This week I have ridden 'the bike' to work everyday. It is 14k there and back. Last year for the Kelowna Triathlon I rode my bike 180km in preparation for the event. The 90 plus minute ride will attest to that.

It is a bit exhilarating riding your bike to work; however, motorcyclists are way cooler...they acknowledge other riders going in the opposite direction. Cyclists don't.
I smile...but only 1/10 people return the smile!

I see great training accumulations happening this year!

Monday, 18 February 2008

The bike

there she is...'the bike' entity unto its own. why?
if you read of my midadventures in the 2007 Adventure Challenge you might have an idea.

The IS because:
1. it replaced my brother's $2000 Brodie Enduro for a mere $10 without notice
2. it has 'old school' calliper brakes which, if i understand correctly, could have saved my hands from an excruciatingly painful numbness and arthritic pain if its brakes were disc brakes
3. went from a calm and relatively sedentary lifestyle on the downtown east side being traded for $10 to $20 here and there to the pounding of Mt Seymour trails
4. of the people i met trying to find the aforementioned Brodie (Rachel, Guy, Horn Dog, Frenchie, et al)
5. the bike kicked rearend on the trails and let me finish the race with dignity

I love the handle bars. Some fellows in the know commented on them being 'bull horns' or something. Little do they know what those horns have seen.
The shocks are refered to as 'duo track' what does that mean? Is it safe?

Look at those gears. Just look at them.

The BRC Banzai. A classic if ever there was one. I would like to auction the bike off. It might have to wait until after the 2008 race...but who knows. All proceeds go to the house!!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Thank You Miss604

I would like to thank Rebecca Bollwitt who did a great post on her blog about the House and the Adventure Challenge.
Go visit:

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Friday Night at the House

I had a great night at the house. My Friday night partner Tony was unable to be there (which is not the reason for it being awesome). Tony and I have worked an 'every other Friday night' shift for as long as I have been at the house. Most often we always have something on the go and our super-duper back up guy Martin takes our place. I don't think I have seen Tony in 2 months!

Tonight in the house I hung out with Amanda, Saul, Justin, and Eddie (not their REAL names). The boys are teens, two of them are turning 19 this year which is both a fantastic and sad event at the same time. Canuck Place is a children's hospice...the boys become adults this year and therefore Canuck Place is no longer an option for them. That is the sad part for Graduates. The happy part is that they have been living to see the day they become adults. Not many do at Canuck Place.
Amanda is 5. Cute as a button and more mature than the 18 year old guys that she was hanging with!
After dinner Saul went with his family to watch Zoolander. The rest of us went upstairs to decide what to do. Ms. Amanda asked if we could go to the art room and away we went. So there we are...a 5 year old who can't decide what to do and a couple of 18 year old who can't use their arms because of the effects of Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy.

What would you do? I don't know how it happened but the next thing I know I am inserting a long paintbrush into a plastic container and taping the contraption to Eddie's head. After a couple of modifications Eddie is ready to paint his first painting with his head. Very exciting!

"I have to go pee", says the little voice behind me.
All of us load into the elevator, painting contraption included, and head downstairs.

Back upstairs Eddie begins to paint. RED is the colour. Poor Justin is chuckling away the whole time...Amanda is playing in some plastic beads that look like candy. Eddie finishes the painting.

Now its Eddie's turn to go down to the kids floor. All of us load into the elevator and down we go.

Upstairs again and we go to the classroom armed with a bucket of nail polish. Set up Eddie on the computer and the boys surf. The boys decline the offer of having their nails done by a 5 year old girl...but I jumped at the opportunity:

Saul had come up and was surfing as well. Each of the boys has Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy which is a sex-linked genetic disease, meaning that the mum OR the dad's chromosome is where the gene is. With Duchenne's the X chromosome from mum carries the mutated gene. The gene responsible for making dystrophin has been messed up and passed along. Dystrophin is a muscle protein that helps to keep muscle fibres stuck together. No dystrophin and your muscles begin to lose the ability to move.
Another night where I feel I received way more than I gave.
Thanks guys,


Friday, 15 February 2008

My canuck place gig

I am a family volunteer. That means I get to hang out with the kids.

Family volunteers eat with, sometimes feed, walk with or push kids, read to, sing with, play games with, watch tv with, talk to, listen to the kids of the house...or with their siblings, or their parents. Sometimes we just sit and hold a hand...or a baby.

Each family volunteer goes through about thirty hours of education...making us aware of the needs of the house, the kids and their families. In the end it is more of a discovery of what you as an individual can do for yourself...and then others.

We come from all walks of life and life experiences. I think I can speak for many of the volunteers at the house: we get more than we give at canuck place.

I will be there tonight!

Roger's House
Roger's House is a ' Canuck Place East' and serves those kids in need in the Ottawa region of Ontario. If I am not mistaken it is only the second freestanding hospice of its kind in Canada (Canuck Place being first).
Roger Neilson was head coach of the Vancouver Canucks during their run to the finals against NY. Roger hoisted the 'white flag' in a game against Chicago in protest to the refereeing. Towel Power was born.
Roger died of cancer in 2003 and Roger's House is his legacy.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

The Last...or First $25

Thanks to total is at $25. I pestered and bothered Sam for a donation last year for the event and he finally passed me a cheque for $25 November 3, 2007. I have been carrying the cheque around ever since meaning to drop it into the House. It now is in an envelope. One step closer to its proper place.

Can I ask Sam to donate twice this year??

the first adventure challenge 2006

This was an event that was trial by fire for me. I had never been in a kayak until 2 weeks before the race, I did not own a mountain bike, and I think I had done the grouse grind a couple of times. Not the best training regimen but it was meant to be a lot of fun...right?
I had signed up for the short race...a 4k kayak, 25 k bike and 5k run. It turns out that we did the 6k kayak route...I managed to do the bike route BACKWARDS...and the run was uneventful.

My wife had purchased tickets to go and listen to the Dalai Lama...a very calming and peaceful event. Unfortunately I was more calm and more at peace than the majority of attendees having left my energy on the trails of Deep Cove.

I think that this third event I am registered is destined to be a doozy...things happen in threes, right?

Monday, 11 February 2008

Malcolm's Adventure Challenge 2007


A big thank you to everyone who helped me with this years Adventure Challenge...and what a Challenge.

The day got off to a great start. Coffee was brewing and I am feeling pretty good. At 6:55am I load Neil's Brodie Enduro mountain bike on my bike rack in front of the house tying it down with rope so it is nice and secure for the drive to Deep Cove. I have another box to load so I run into the house and pour myself a coffee. My step daughter is in the shower and once she comes out we are ready to go. I run down to the car to load up my box. It is now 7:05 am.

The bike is gone.

Ropes cut and no one in sight. Panic! I tell my wife and I am in the car racing through the streets and alleys of quiet Kitsilano. I find three young street urchins (2 of whom are riding nice Konas) and am asking them if they saw anything. They told me where I should check first. One of them did offer me the use of his Kona, but it had no seat. I said it was stolen, but he assured me that it was not from this area. Meanwhile my wife has phoned the Police and reported the theft in progress. I had also phoned the police while cruising so there was some confusion on the go! I found a police cruiser and pulled up to him to discover he was looking for the same bike I was looking for. When I get home there was another officer talking to my wife. I still have to find a bike to ride for the race in one and a half hours.


We have to go, bike or not. My wife suggests we cruise Main Street and Hastings to see if we can see the bike. Good idea. Tensions are now very high in the car as I don't think any of us are enjoying ourselves now. No bike to see from the roads. I pull up to the corner of Hastings and Carrall which is one of the least attractive places downtown and begin to stroll among the masses (yes...masses at 7:30am) of drug addicts and traders. I tell my story of woe and describe the bike. No luck. My new friends Nancy and Rachel are interested. It appears that Rachel deals in bikes. She will keep her eyes open. Nancy has a phone and offers to phone me. I don't have a card but I spy a pen in Rachel's hair and reach for it. I give it to Nancy and she writes my name and number on her scabby hands. I thank them and I am retreating back to the car and a couple of fellows have some bikes. One of them comes up to me with a green mountain bike. It looks ok and he will sell it to me for $10. I agree to the deal and run back to the car to get a 10-spot from my wife. Transaction complete I return to the car with my new-to-me BRC Banzai mountain bike. Jump in the car and I am off to the races.

When we get to Deep Cove I register for the race and I quickly tell my story. Great news! John Henry has a crew here tuning bikes! I take it up to the tent and tell them I just picked it up and don't know if it works. I went to the kayak start and asked them if they could put it by my stuff when they are done with it! I hoped to hell that it would work.

The Race:
Kayak was absolutely beautiful.
The mountain bike was a course from hell and heaven all at the same time. I have a new found respect for mountain bikers. My wife had to deal with some first aid on the trail when a girl flipped over on her bike and the brake lever punctured he thigh. Apparently there was some adipose tissue hanging of the lever and a bit in the girls hair which the wasps were buzzing around....eeewwwwwww.

The run was uphill in both directions, or so it appeared.

5 hours and 17 minutes of being in one of the most beautiful areas of the world was a great way to spend a saturday despite the number of bike riders swearing their way through the boulders and hills of Mt. Seymour.

After the race there was lots of food and juice. I learnt that I won the solo men's category for the race and got a trophy!

On our way back home we went back to see my friends Rachel and Nancy but nobody has seen them. There was a fellow who was there during the morning session and he takes interest in my quest for the bike. He thinks he knows where to look. My new friend Guy. He showed me his Indian Status card so I can take his name down. He looked like a native Trevor Linden when the picture was taken. He smiled at that!

Guy takes my business card and I take his number. Perhaps I will call him today. I hope he finds the bike.
On that note, keep your eyes open on Craigslist for the sale of a blue Brodie Enduro mountain bike.-->

That was my day. I hope yours was as good and cost less than mine eventually will!
Thank you all from me and from the kids at Canuck Place.


Saturday, 9 February 2008

Why Canuck Place? respite care

Why Canuck Place? I think it is because of people like the young girl I was with today. I spent the morning with her. She doesn't use her voice to speak. She uses her eyes and her smile. I got a high five out of her this morning and encouraged her to give Brenda the nurse a major sticking out of the tongue today.
The girl is ten. Her mum takes care of her 24-7 and gets a break when she visits the house for a weekend.
The House is a home away from home for 350 kids involved in the program. I believe that each kid gets about 20 days a year they can schedule for respite care. This gives families a break. Either the child comes on their own...or the whole family comes and enjoys the break that extra care can afford.

About Canuck Place

Borrowed from Gift of Time an annual major fundraiser for Canuck Place


Canuck Place Children’s

Hospice provides specialized pediatric palliative care and support for children living with life-threatening illnesses, not only in the last stages of life, but throughout the illness. In our warm heritage home in Vancouver or through outreach programs, highly trained staff and volunteers help children and the rest of the family cope with the medical and emotional challenges that they face, for as long as care is needed.


Life-threatening illnesses are those for which there is no reasonable hope of cure. Some illnesses cause progressive deterioration resulting in a child becoming increasingly dependent on their parents or caregivers.


Pediatric palliative care refers to caring for and comforting children with life-threatening illnesses, as opposed to curing, while focusing on enhancing their quality of life. At Canuck Place, our care team assists children and families fulfill their physical, psychological, social and spiritual goals.


The care team at Canuck Place is highly skilled, professional staff supported by volunteers. Our team includes doctors, nurses, grief counselors, a special education teacher, a social worker, a chaplain, a recreation therapist, a music therapist and many others.


When a child is admitted onto the Canuck Place, program, a personalized care program is designed for the child and their family. Some of the services available include:


    Our Canuck Place care team works closely with parents and other medical professionals to ensure the child’s symptoms are managed and the child is as comfortable as possible.


    Our around the clock care provides families with a rest from the demands of caring by welcoming the child and the whole family for regular stays at the hospice.

    Staff and volunteers ensure Canuck Place is a place of joy and happiness by offering music and play therapy, as well as recreational opportunities within and outside the Hospice.
    Children in care and their siblings have access to a full-time teacher, available to support their schooling needs. The whole family can enjoy the Jacuzzi hot tub, multi-sensory room, lovely gardens and a fully-accessible play ground.


    Sadly our work, at times, involves providing children and their families with end of life care. The staff and volunteers are highly experienced in supporting children and families at this time. Over the years, Canuck Place has discovered many ways to communicate this caring through special traditions.


    Our Care Team provides support to children and families who face continual losses caused by the illness. This support continues long after a child dies, and allows siblings,
    parents and friends, in individual or group counselling, to be supported in their own experiences of loss.


Canuck Place Children’s Hospice is a story of courage and vision and a shining example of the good that comes when individuals and organizations see a need in their community and
work together to fill it. The need was to provide another option for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families – an option that would give families the added flexibility to access hospice care when hospital or home care could no longer meet their needs.

This vision became a reality in 1995 when Canuck Place opened as North America’s first free-standing children’s hospice. Today Canuck Place stands as a model for children’s hospices around the world and is regarded as a leader in pediatric palliative hospice care.


Canuck Place provides its care and services free of charge to children and families in British Columbia. Our operating budget is funded through the generosity of individuals, corporations including the Canucks For Kids Fund, and the Provincial Government.

Our current funding helps cover day to day operating expenses, however, in order to meet
the demand for care and expand our services to BC families in need, we will continue to rely on the generosity of donors to help us provide care today, and to build for tomorrow.

Friday, 8 February 2008

A beautiful summary of Canuck Place

This is a quote borrowed from a note from a long serving volunteer at canuck place:
"My time has been, very simply put, a wondrous life experience. Without a doubt , I am the one who has been blessed in so many ways in my contact with the parents, children and my fellow Volunteers.
As any of our Volunteer's can attest to, this experience is impossible to describe in a sentence or two. My summation would simply be the ; Children; family's; staff; volunteers; laughter; tears; death; talking; children; listening; hugs; costumes; kitchen; outings; children; smiles; and I could build great stories around all of those words.
The memories of a family & child inviting me to participate and share a few hours or days of their measured time remaining will always be a cherished piece of my life.”

The Blog

My name is Malcolm and I was a volunteer at Canuck Place Children's Hospice in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for nearly seven years. Now I support them by raising money by participating in the Canuck Place Adventure Challenges!

I said hospice. Not really a word that you associate with children but there you go. We will tell you about the house as this blog progresses with the hope that you will learn, and as you learn we hope that you will share. The purpose of the Adventure Challenge is to raise money for AND awareness about Canuck Place.

The name of each kid at the house you read about has been changed.

September 14th and 15th are the dates for the next Adventure Challenges.

You can sponsor me for the race here: Adventure Challenge
Maybe you should do the race?


Just a quick note about the names of the kids in the house that you will read about: they are made up!