Children’s Health Foundation launches $7 million campaign to build new home away from home in Campbell River

Home away from home Campbell River Qwalayu House

Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island officially launched a $7 million fundraising campaign to build a home away from home in Campbell River. It made the announcement today at a special event on the future site of the home. The 10-bedroom home, named Q̓ʷalayu House, would welcome families and expectant mothers, largely from the west and northern regions of Vancouver Island, who need a place to stay while accessing the adjacent North Island Hospital and nearby health care services.

This home was inspired by the success of Jeneece Place, a beloved home away from home built from the dream of Jeneece Edroff, the ‘penny girl’. Jeneece asked the community to rally behind the development of a home for families to stay while their children received health care in Victoria. As families, health care providers, and community groups from northern Vancouver Island saw the impact of Jeneece Place, they stepped forward voicing a need to expand this model in Campbell River.

“Jeneece Place was an incredible resource for my family when we needed it. Long travel days and expensive hotels put huge strains on families in addition to all of the health care concerns they face. This new home will relieve some of those large pressures for families living on the North Island so they can focus on their kids,” says Doug McCorquodale, Port Hardy father whose daughter, Abigail, stayed at Jeneece Place. Doug is also now a Board Director with Children’s Health Foundation.

An anonymous donor learned about the project and stepped forward with an astounding $3 million core funding gift.

“I am so blown away by this incredibly generous gift that will help countless families from the North Island. We are eager to break ground with this development as we know the need is there and has been for a long time. Like the support shown by the community for Jeneece Place, we hope this large gift encourages others to give and match the $3 million gift to get us that much closer to our goal,” says Veronica Carroll, CEO at Children’s Health Foundation.

The home is named Q̓ʷalayu House, which mixes both English and the traditional language of the home’s host community on the shared territories of the We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum First Nations. Q̓ʷalayu or Qwalayu (pronounced kwuh-lie-you) is an endearing term used by Elders when they speak of babies and children as their reason for being. First Nations groups, Elders, and a traditional language group were involved in the naming process.

A large parcel of land adjacent to the North Island Hospital was provided by Island Health to Children’s Health Foundation as a long-term license.

“Island Health is proud to be a partner in this amazing project,” said Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health. “Q̓ʷalayu House will reduce the burden on families during trying times and the long-term land license granted by Island Health will ensure this project benefits the community for decades to come.”

Alan Lowe is the project’s lead architect and has committed a gift of $90,000 toward the home. Alan was the lead architect for Jeneece Place as well as downtown Victoria’s mental health hub, Foundry Victoria. WestUrban Developments of Campbell River has been named the project’s construction manager.

“It’s wonderful to see the Foundation expand into Campbell River to support families farther north who travel such great distances to access care. This home will have such a large impact for generations to come and we are excited to work alongside the community to see it come to life,” says Sandra Hudson, board chair at Children’s Health Foundation.

Children’s Health Foundation is working with a dedicated committee and dozens of community partners to help make this dream a reality. $7 million enables the Foundation to build the home, fully equip the 10-bedroom facility, and fund the first five years of operating costs.


Help us build Q̓ʷalayu House. Make a gift to our home away from home expansion fund today!