Jeneece Place holiday lights brightening spirits
Victoria’s beloved home away from home, Jeneece Place, is boasting some bright holiday cheer as thousands of lights (about 8,000 bulbs!) are officially plugged in for the season.
Since Jeneece Place’s opening in 2012, husband and wife duo Adrian and Tracey D’Silva have volunteered their time to decorate the home for Christmas, which includes hanging more than a hundred stands of lights. For the previous four years they recruited the help of their friends Graham and Karla Temke, and this year gained the help of Pete Van Roozendaal.
This work is also made possible by the generosity of community donors.
The Canadian Tire team at Hillside donated four dozen boxes of lights along with a projector this year. GardenWorks generously donated three Christmas trees and stands. And Nigel Rees at Vancouver Island Paint Tech along with Chris Knight repaired a pedal car with the help of John’s Auto Body and Paint. The car will be a permanent indoor decoration at Jeneece Place.
Nineteen-month-old twins Felix and Harriet helped Adrian and Tracey plug in all of the lights alongside parents Charlotte and Brian. Charlotte and Brian live in Victoria but utilized Jeneece Place for day-use after the twins were born premature and they needed to stay close to the hospital.
Families staying at Jeneece Place are often experiencing challenging times while their children are receiving care at the neighbouring Victoria General Hospital. Stays can be made especially difficult during the holidays, which is a time commonly spent with loved ones and filled with traditions.
In 2015, Nanaimo mother Robyn Hewer and her husband Jackson stayed at Jeneece Place over the holidays after their son Weston was born 10 weeks early and was fighting for his life in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Feeling terrified, the Hewers were prepared to give up anything to do with the holidays that year as their primary focus was their son. But because of Jeneece Place, they could still feel the warmth and festive spirit of the holidays, despite what they were faced with.
“I’m a Christmas person, and being in Jeneece Place made that Christmas spirit come back to me. It was so beautiful. I remember coming down from our room first thing in the mornings to get a cup of coffee and the tree was lit…it made me so grateful to have that experience. After that moment, I never felt like we were missing out or that people should feel sympathy for us because we were going to be in the hospital for Christmas. We got to experience the beautiful giving of Jeneece Place volunteers, its staff, and volunteers in the community. They all contributed to making sure that we did get a Christmas,” says Robyn.
Weston is now a happy and healthy boy, turning four this month. The Hewers shared the exciting news that Weston is now a big brother, after they welcomed their new baby girl Harper Lillian earlier this month.