KCyriel DeBruyne and his sister, Susan Petersen, will never forget the times they spent at Campbell River Hospital, keeping a constant vigil over DeBruyne’s dying wife, Tricia.
While the treatment and care they received from hospital staff was second to none, the times spent trying to catch some sleep were challenging.
“It was uncomfortable,” said DeBruyne, recalling the small chair he and his sister slept in beside Tricia’s bed.
DeBruyne hoped he could make others who would stay in the hospital after him more comfortable and so after Tricia passed, he wanted to do what he could to help make that happen.
DeBruyne applied for his wife’s death tax benefit through the Canada Pension Plan. Instead of paying tax on the benefit, DeBruyne chose to donate the entire $2,500 amount to the Campbell River Hospital Foundation. With the money, the foundation recently purchased a Stryker reclining chair which folds out into a bed so family and friends visiting hospital patients have somewhere comfortable to sleep.
The chair can be used as a sit-up chair, a fully reclined bed, or a bed with one piece propped up for the visitor’s head.
The chair arrived at the hospital two weeks ago and it’s already been used.
“I’m so glad to hear it’s already been used,” DeBruyne said. “It’s a neat thing.
“Hopefully it will get used several times a week. It’ll be a good thing.”
DeBruyne can clearly recall long days by Tricia’s bedside, uncomfortably trying to get whatever sleep he could.
“I would come during the day and try to grab some sleep when I was here,” DeBruyne said. “Susan (DeBruyne’s sister) slept here every night of the last three weeks.”
Tricia was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011 and passed away in July of 2013.
During that time she would have three or four week stints in the hospital. Her final check-in at the hospital was in April, 2013 – three months before she died.
DeBruyne said he wants to help others who may find themselves in the position he was in.
“I think the main thing is to comfort people who want to stay with their loved ones.”