Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Quiet rockband night. oxymoron?

Hello everyone,

so last shift (April 10) it was Jen, Martin, and I who were the volunteers (Tony called Martin in because he was spending time with his family.) The green light was turned on. We went in and saw this HUGE feast laid out in front of us, especially prepared by the kitchen, because the hospice was expecting lots of people that night. Unfortunately, only half the expected people showed up in time for dinner, so there was lots of left over. There was even an easter bunny chocolate cake and tiramisu! I couldn't resist but have a bit of cake.

Kids in the house who we got to see - Kameron, Shawn, Christina, and little Gordon.
Christina's hair is getting so long now! That night she had it in a very looong pretty braid. And her nails are never without colour - she had pink nail polish on. =D

Little Gordon is so cute; he has a pacifier that hangs down from his bib with lots of wooden beads on it. If the pacifier drops out of his mouth, he will start to nibble on his own fingers instead!

So anyways, the main highlight of the night was rockband! (Malcolm you missed out. :P)It was Shawn on bass, and me or Jen on the guitar, voice, or drums (yes drums! they got new ones!)Even Martin joined in on the guitar and drums a few times. All throughout it, little Gordon was moving back and forth in his chair to the beat of the music with his hands sticking up in the air. Kameron was content with just listening to his iPod at a volume that I was a bit worried about. While it was still bright, we also took the boys for a little stroll around the hospice.

So you might be wondering why I haven't talked about who Kameron and Shawn are, but it's because I'm saving it until now. Throughout the night, us volunteers chatted with them in between songs, and we discovered that both boys are 18 years old. To Jen and Martin, this might not mean so much ;), but to me, it was quite something. One thing is that, them being 18, they are nearing the end of their visits to Canuck Place. The biggest thing is that they are the same age as me. Throughout the night, I couldn't help but imagine what they would be like if they don't have their illnesses and disabilities, and I also came to really admire the way they acted. Especially Shawn, he is so much more mature than most 18 year-old boys that I know. And Kameron, bless his heart, never gets tired of repeating his words until we understand and perseveres to control his own power chair even while he has some difficulty. Hanging out with these two boys was a reality check for me to be grateful for what I have and not take things for granted.

And the night ended quietly, with the boys staying downstairs with the nurses to keep the 2nd floor quiet for the very sick baby and his family.
The green light was turned off by the time us volunteers left for home.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

They call me Santos...,

or Saul, or Jeffrey, or Dante. In fact we need to call him Santos Santorini de la Escabara.
Let me hearken to a previous post: "Santos broke it".

Saul, Dante, Jeffrey, and Mitch were in for a Boys Night Out weekend and we were discussing the blog and the names Joan and I create. Santos, formerly known as Steve (who broke it) made it known he wanted a new name....but I think I forgot the one he suggested....!

The boys were in for dinner and then out the door to go to a movie--Fasterer and More Furiouser--or something like that with Santos, formerly known as Steve. It was nice to visit with Jeffrey after dinner. I haven't seen him for a while.
After the boys left Joan and I remained with the little ones--Little Normie, Liander, and a later intake Enid.

When I got to the house little Normie was walking to dinner...yes...walking (he is usually in a chair) and he walked right into my arms for a big hug. Mum is always behind him lugging his O2 AND tube feeder tanks. Normie is a demanding little boy...not in a bad way...just a demanding way. He doesn't like to be away from his Mum and really gets upset when he can't have her right near by. Mum had a bit of a day off today and spent the day at a temple for prayers (and super good food).
Joan and I spent most of our night with Normie. First, as always, we did a little rock band without the drums (because Santos Broke them). Normie did a little guitar, then a litttle singing, then he got Joan and I to perform for him!
Baby Liander's Dad was down a few times playing Guitar Hero. Liander's mum and dad are in for a first intake and are learning a lot about their littlest boy (they also have a 2 year old) and what they need to do to look after him.
Normie had to be weighed at some point during the night and his nurse wheels in this skookum electronic scale. It had a platform big enough to take a wheel chair! In this corner Little Stormin' Norman weighs in at 11.3kg, and in the other corner...the big guy came in a 93kg. We all were weighed (Mum and Joan) but privacy issues forbid me from telling everything.

After weigh in we played a little ball, had all our meds taken care of and then it was time for bed.
Another good night!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Chrystal $50 Fishman $740

somebody...help me out here....

Chrystal : $50 Fishman: $640

Canuck Place: $690

I am astounded! I haven't even started fundraising for this event and our total is at $690 thanks to Justin's contacts. This rocks.
Thank you to my colleagues, my students parents, and friends who have already donated or in the process of donating!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Justin helps even more

Justin asked me if he could help me raise money the other day. " Of course!" says I.
We are in a study block and he sends me this email. It is rather difficult not tear up while I am reading this:

Hi everybody,

My teacher, Malcolm Chrystal, has been volunteering at Canuck Place for almost five years. He works there as a family volunteer, his job entailing spending time with the children and making their stay enjoyable.

For those of you who don't know, Canuck Place is a children's hospice. It basically is a form of palliative care for young children…yet it is so much more than that. When I was five years old, my late sister Tamryn was in the program at Canuck Place, having been diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease. The hospice did everything they could to make her comfortable…and more. I remember the grief therapy groups my parents attended at Canuck Place, who understood the importance of helping the families as well. There were even groups for siblings, where we would learn how to handle the grief and also try to keep us happy during very sad times.

This year, Mr. Chrystal is participating in Canuck Place's Adventure Challenge, covering a distance of 46 kilometres by kayak, bike, and foot. He is collecting pledges for the challenge, with a goal of $2000 in mind. All the money goes directly to Canuck Place, as good a cause as any. Please support Malcolm by following these links and donating. Then, pass the email along to friends and family.

Malcolm's blog:

Pledge for Malcolm:

Canuck Place Adventure Challenge Site:

Canuck Place Children's Hospice:

Thank you Justin.

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!