Mayor Andy Adams enthusiastically pitches some dirt at the groundbreaking of Qwalayu House on Thursday. The new home-away-from-home for visitors to the Campbell River Hospital is being constructed between Yucalta Lodge, the hospital itself and the Hospice Society offices and is based on the model of Jeneese Place in Victoria. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Mayor Andy Adams enthusiastically pitches some dirt at the groundbreaking of Qwalayu House on Thursday. The new home-away-from-home for visitors to the Campbell River Hospital is being constructed between Yucalta Lodge, the hospital itself and the Hospice Society offices and is based on the model of Jeneese Place in Victoria. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Qwalayu House in Campbell River to be North Island families’ home away from home

$7-million facility to be modeled on Jeneece Place in Victoria

Abigail McCorquodale has had over 60 life-changing – and often life-saving – surgeries throughout her relatively short time on this planet.

She was born without an esophagus, and she needed to essentially have one built by doctors, and then have it widened as she grew.

But grow she did. She is now a healthy young woman with dreams of being a dancer on Broadway – and well on her way, by all accounts.

But the 14-year-old is from Port Hardy, so for each of these often-prolonged hospital visits during her childhood, she traveled six hours to be treated in Victoria. As the youngest of four girls in the family, this meant that some – but not all – of her support system could travel with her to give her the support she needed.

For the past few years, however, she’s had a spot to have that support system around her: Jeneece Place, which opened in 2012.

“Though I was too young to remember,” McCorquodale told a group of dignitaries assembled atop a windy hill behind the Campbell River Hospital on Thursday, “my condition caused me to spend the first three months of my life in the ICU at Victoria General Hospital. I can remember my more recent surgeries, though. In the beginning, we would either stay in a hotel or drive home after being discharged. But in the later years, we stayed at Jeneece Place. It was amazing. It was right next to the hospital, so we could stay there before and after my surgeries, but my favourite thing about the house is that I was just another kid. I wasn’t someone who needed extra care or someone who had operations more than most people, I was just like everyone else.”

And now, after years of work, the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island (CHFVI) – which runs Jeneece Place in Victoria – has officially broken ground on a second facility, atop this windy hill behind the hospital, between the Campbell River Hospice Society offices on Evergreen and Yucalta Lodge on 2nd Avenue.

The 10-bedroom facility – each with its own private bathroom – will be called Qwalayu House. Construction is scheduled to begin next spring, with an anticipated opening the following year.

“A facility like Jeneece Place being constructed here in Campbell River will mean so much to the parents, kids and families of the small communities all over northern Vancouver Island,” says McCorquodale’s father, Doug, who joined the board of CHFVI about four years ago.

RELATED: A home away from home for Campbell River hospital patients in the works

RELATED: Home away from home to support families during kids’ medical treatment

But before the facility can fill this gap in the local healthcare services, CHFVI needs to raise $7 million. That amount will get the facility built and operating, as well as fund its operation for the first five years.

Amazingly, donations of almost half of that amount were also announced Thursday at the groundbreaking. An anonymous donor has seeded the funding pool with a $3 million gift, the architect of the building, Alan Lowe – who was also the architect of Jeneece Place – is donating $90,000 to the project, and another $200,000 was donated by Victoria-based Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

But according to Veronica Carroll, CEO of CHFVI, every donation, no matter how small, makes a difference, and it will be the community coming together that makes this project a reality.

Anyone interested in helping, or learning more about the project, can visit islandkidsfirst.com/campbellriverhome for more information or make a donation.



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley Capitals forward Sean Ramsay comes away with the puck after a battle along the boards during a game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on May 1, 2021. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)
Three wins in a row for Cowichan Capitals

BCHL team enjoying best stretch of the season

Friends have set up a GoFundMe account for the family of Dorothy Littau, who was diagnosed with colon cancer last month. (Submitted)
GoFundMe campaign set up ‘ever-present force in South Cowichan schools’

Dorothy Littau was diagnosed with colon cancer in April

Peter and Wayne Richmond and 49th Parallel Grocery won the award for Business Achievement 20+ Employees at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s 22nd Black Tie Awards on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Submitted)
Black Tie winners announced during virtual awards event

Recipients gave speeches by phone while being live-streamed on YouTube

Cobble Hill’s Bob Collins (left) and reservist Keenan Hayes stand at attention at Cobble Hill Cenotaph in this photo taken on Oct. 22, 2019, to honour members of the Canadian military who died in Canada in non-combat roles. (File photo)
MacGregor seeks to honour armed services members who died on Canadian soil

MP introduces bill to mark Oct. 22 as “Canadian Armed Forces Members’ Day”

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

Most Read