Who We Help
Families Touched by the Unforgettables Fund
There is nothing more heartbreaking for a family than the loss of a child. Yet, for many families across Canada, it is a loss they must face. These families often put their lives on hold to spend time with their critically ill child, which can include a long period of hospitalization. Time away from work, commuting to the hospital, and expenses of hospitalization can place a family’s finances under considerable strain. In some cases, these families cannot afford the costs associated with a funeral for their child. The financial hardships that a family ensures along with the grief that accompanies a child’s death can be overwhelming.
In 2013, The Unforgettables Fund Toronto Chapter helped 23 families following the death of their child, nearly double the number of families helped the previous year. Your generosity has meant that over the past year we were able to meet the increased need for assistance and help families like the ones mentioned below.
Jack* was the sixth child born into his family, and after his birth he spent five months in the Cardiac Critical Care Unit (CCCU). Jack’s father works in construction and his mother stays at home because one of their other children also has complex medical need. The family is from Orangeville and had to spend a great deal of their income on gas and parking over those five months. Jack’s father had to take time off of work during the most challenging times for the family, adding to their financial challenges. Unfortunately, Jack wasn’t able to recover and he passed away in the CCCU. To add to their despair, his parents weren’t sure how they would be able to pay for his funeral, since they did not have any savings. The Unforgettables Fund paid for the cost of Jack’s funeral, ensuring the family was able to honour the memory of their son.
At eight-years old Mary* and her parents learned that she was terminally ill and only had a short time to spend with her family. Mary’s family had recently relocated to Ontario and her father had just begun a new job. Since Mary had to be hospitalized, her parents came daily to SickKids to spend time with her. Her father used all of his vacation time and had to take time off unpaid to be with her. When Mary died on Christmas Eve, her family was devastated and they weren’t sure how they would afford the funeral costs as they didn’t have any savings. They were relieved to learn that through the assistance of the Unforgettables Fund, they would be able to say a proper goodbye to their daughter.
When Kurt* was six-years old, his parents brought him to SickKids from out of town for a routine appointment and he was admitted for an existing heart condition and other health concerns. During Kurt’s admission, his parents were faced with severe emotional distress and anxiety. To compound their stress, they also struggled financially. Kurt passed away unexpectedly away from complications related to his heart condition. Shocked and devastated, they were not prepared for the additional financial burden associated with Kurt’s death, adding significant strain to the family. The Unforgettables Fund was a great help, which covered the cost of flying Kurt’s body back home for a meaningful ceremony and relieved the family of one source of stress during an incredibly difficult time.
*Names and identifying details have been changed.