Community Papers

Fernwood reaches out after family’s loss

Customers, friends, and staff of the Fernwood Inn gathered together in April to send a message of support to Kevin Oneschuk, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Oneschuk died on May 16. - Photo contributed
Customers, friends, and staff of the Fernwood Inn gathered together in April to send a message of support to Kevin Oneschuk, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Oneschuk died on May 16.
— image credit: Photo contributed

If you ever dined at the Fernwood Inn before a show at the Belfry, or met friends there for an evening beverage, you were likely greeted by the broad smile of Kevin Oneschuk, who managed the bar there for seven years.

Known for his friendly demeanour, surfer-dude attire, and generous servings, Oneschuk was popular with staff and patrons of the community-gathering place. Evening staff and regulars were sure to hear stories about his daughter, Devon, and son, Finn, since Oneschuk cared for them during the day – a job he adored.

“No one loved their children, or life in general, more than Kevin Oneschuk,” said Jenny Manzer, a friend of the family. “I have never met a man more devoted to his family, or who drew more happiness from being a dad.”

Tragically, in January of this year, Oneschuk was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer, and died on May 16.

While his wife, Meghan Stothers, and their two children, Devon, 10, and Finn, 7, are a strong team, Oneschuk’s illness and death has left the Fernwood family facing unexpected challenges.

Friends of Stothers created an online fund for friends and neighbours to make donations, substantial or small, to ease the financial strain of the family’s loss and help them go on with their lives.

Victoria residents can donate to the online fund to support Devon and Finn’s education and ongoing needs at Friends of Meghan–Family Fund at gofundme.com/a6lyr8

On July 20, the Neighbours for Change block party will take place on Gladstone Avenue in front of the Fernwood Inn. The annual event, which includes a dunk tank, a local marketplace and an auction, burgers, live music, craft stations, and more, is in honour of Roger Colwill, the father of two of the Fernwood Inn’s current owners, Mike Colwill and Sarah Rouget.

Every year, the owners donate all proceeds from this event to a worthy cause. This year proceeds will go to a trust fund for Devon and Finn Oneschuk.

“The block party is going to be a wonderful way for the entire community to celebrate our dear friend and show our support to his family,” said Rouget.

“The astounding response we’ve received from participants and volunteers for the event shows how loved Kevin was.”

 

For more information, please go online to neighboursforchange.wordpress.com. To make donations to the silent auction, please contact Sarah Rouget: neighboursforchange@gmail.com.

 

 

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