Campbell River business leaders fund vital grief program for children and youth

Losing a loved one at any time is life-altering, but the shock of a sudden or unexpected death intensifies the grieving process. Traumatic death is significantly challenging for children who struggle to understand death. Dealing with the intense emotions of losing someone can be incredibly confusing, especially when everyone around them is in crisis and struggling to cope.

Sadly, statistics show that suicidal ideation can increase by 50 per cent in children and adolescents who have lost a loved one by sudden death.

Various issues, such as COVID, suicide and the ongoing drug toxicity crisis, have immensely increased the need for hospice services. This is clearly evident in children who may have lost a parent, grandparent, sibling or other loved one, says Campbell River Hospice Society Executive Director Louise Daviduck.

At one Campbell River school, for example, 15 per cent of students had lost a parent through death, and 40 per cent have experienced a significant loss through the death of a sibling, caregiver or friend.

Thankfully, an innovative new program from Campbell River Hospice Society, developed through funding from a group of community-minded Campbell River business leaders, is here to help.

“We quickly realized the significant need for a critical program to help local children and their families impacted by sudden loss, which can be exceptionally different from an expected natural death and can place the entire family in crisis,” Daviduck explains.

Campbell River Hospice’s multi-faceted Child and Youth Grief Program helps those aged four to 19 work through their grief at no cost.

Early intervention can help prevent self-destructive behaviours such as misuse of alcohol, drugs or crime to manage the depression, pain and lost sense of purpose that can follow a traumatic death. The Child and Youth program provides children, teens and their families with tools, peer support and professional guidance throughout the healing journey.

Campbell River’s business leaders step up

While the need is great, the program itself is only possible because of the foresight of community-minded local business leaders who have stepped up with two-year funding to get the program up and running.

“The community has been amazing,” Daviduck says. “As soon as they knew what the program was and what it was for, they were right on board.”

With the support of these founding contributors, Campbell River Hospice Society will be able to provide the free program at the Hospice Care Centre. In addition, service will be provided in school settings, with one-on-one counselling and group programs, art therapy and play therapy.

Care for every member of the family

“Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences a family can go through. It’s a journey that can be overwhelming and filled with many emotions. That’s why it’s important to be encircled with compassionate counselling and holistic care,” she reflects.

“Our team is dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment for families to navigate their grief and end-of-life journey. All local hospice services have an exceptionally high level of care provided at no cost. “We are known as the pillar of excellence for grief support in Campbell River,” Daviduck says, pointing out that at the same time, the vast majority of their funding comes from community donations.

More than 70 percent of the hospice funding comes from donations from the community and fundraising initiatives, with the remainder from their thrift store and a small percentage from government funding. “Community support is vital to our organization, and every dollar counts,” Daviduck says.

Learn more at You can help by donating online, by phone 250-286-1121 or by dropping by 440 Evergreen Rd.

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