$600,000 in donations announced for Holmberg House

Abbotsford Hospice Society (AHS) has announced $600,000 in donations towards completing the construction of its Holmberg House adult hospice.

The $7 million raised in phase one resulted in the shell of the building being constructed, but concerns were raised last fall that its completion would be delayed.

The organization announced in November that it was facing a funding shortfall and needed another $3.7 million to finish construction of the facility, located on the Campus of Care next to Abbotsford Regional Hospital on Marshall Road.

Another $1.3 million was needed to fully furnish the facility and for other start-up costs.

On Friday morning, a presentation was held at the current Abbotsford Hospice Society building – on Marshall Road east of the Campus of Care – to honour individuals, businesses and organizations who had donated $10,000 or more for phase two of the project.

Patrick Giesbrecht, who is co-chairing the Holmberg House capital campaign with Vijay Manuel, said a more comprehensive public and donor campaign is working to raise the $5 million needed to complete construction of the facility by the end of 2015.

This campaign includes the "Leaders Circle," a group of community members who have agreed to serve as campaign ambassadors: Manuel, Michael Dick, Ken Funk, Jon Eaton, Christine Wiebe, George Peary, Bruce Beck, Barry Turchen, Patricia Sapielak, Andy Sidhu, Aman Gill, Gary Dickinson and Angelo Rea.

Holmberg House, named for Dave Holmberg Jr., who died of cancer in March 2011 at the age of 48, will be the city's first adult hospice, providing a home-like setting for people nearing the end of their lives.

The three-storey 30,000-square-foot building is one of three facilities on the Campus of Care. The other two are Canuck Place Children's Hospice and Matthew's House, a respite facility for children with complex health-care needs.

Individuals attending the donor recognition event on Friday included Dave Holmberg Sr. (in photo at left) and family, who have made a $1 million commitment to help build the facility; MLAs Mike de Jong, Darryl Plecas and Simon Gibson; Mayor Bruce Banman; AHS board chair David Turchen; and AHS's new executive director, Bev Brown.

Donors honoured at the event were:

– Gary and Carolyn Dickinson, $125,000;

– Tom and Isabella Yakashiro, $52,000;

– Dennis and Judy Morelli, $150,000;

– Marshall Aerospace, $10,000;

– Fraser Valley Regional District, $50,000;

– Bruce Beck, $11,000;

– Raymond Geertsma, $17,500;

– Frances Shkuratoff, $125,000;

–  Richard Oldenborger, $10,000;

– Unitex Sales Ltd. (Bob Johnson), $15,000; and

– Gerry Adams, $25,000.

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