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Mother’s dream home opens

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Respite centre for children with complex health care needs dedicated

(L-r): Communitas board chair Marlyce Friesen, Doug and Andrea Froese, B.C. MLAs Simon Gibson and Darryl Plecas, Abbotsford mayor Bruce Banman. PHOTO: Revival Arts Photography
Nearly 100 guests attended formal opening ceremonies for Matthew’s House Nov. 14, 2013. PHOTO: Barrie McMaster
Spacious, cheery rooms accommodate special needs children who stay at Matthew’s House for high level respite care. PHOTO: Barrie McMaster

From idea to completed project in seven years: Matthew’s House, a respite care facility for children requiring complex health care, officially opened Nov. 14, 2013, with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Left to right are Communitas Supportive Care society board chair Marlyce Friesen; parents of the eponymous Matthew, Doug and Andrea Froese; B.C. MLAs Simon Gibson and Darryl Plecas; and Abbotsford mayor Bruce Banman.

The facility was funded by community donors, provincial and city governments, and partners in what will be the “campus of care” next to the new Abbotsford hospital. Organizers hope to raise the $850,000 annual operating cost at the community level on an ongoing basis so financial constraints won’t exclude any families needing respite.

Matthew Froese, after whom the centre is named, died in 2010. As she walked through the completed building on official opening day, his mother Andrea said, “I felt quite proud of Matthew and thought, ‘This is the house that Matt built.’ Thank you for honouring his memory, and thank you for making the community a better place for families with special needs children.”

In the first of two scheduled open house events, nearly 100 guests attended formal opening ceremonies for Matthew’s House in Abbotsford Nov. 14, 2013. The second event, a public open house, is scheduled for Nov. 23, 2013. The facility is designed for children aged 4–18 who require high-level respite care for complex health issues.

Read Matthew and Andrea’s story, “A mother’s pain, a son’s legacy,” MB Herald, May 2012.

See also www.mattshouse.ca.

(photo credit to Revival Arts Studio)

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