Abbotsford’s first adult hospice celebrates official opening

Holmberg House event takes place Friday afternoon on the Campus of Care

Dozens of people were on hand for the official opening of Holmberg House on Friday afternoon.

The Abbotsford Hospice Society (AHS) celebrated the official opening on Friday afternoon of Holmberg House, the city’s first adult hospice.

Dignitaries on hand for the celebration included MLAs Darryl Plecas, Mike de Jong and Simon Gibson; MPs Ed Fast and Jati Sidhu; Mayor Henry Braun; and members of city council and the board of education.

“Holmberg House is indeed a wonderful addition to our community,” said Plecas, who served as master of ceremonies.

Plecas, Braun and de Jong each addressed the crowd, saying the project would not have come to fruition without the dedicated efforts of volunteers, staff and donors.

“Holmberg House will truly be a home. It will be a place of security and warmth … It will be a place where comfort is given,” Braun said.

Also commending all the people involved in the project was David Turchen, chair of the AHS board of directors.

He said the board has been “honoured and humbled” by the community support. He said the 10-bed facility was full within a few days of opening earlier this month.

The speakers specifically addressed the Holmberg family, who made a commitment to contribute up to $1 million to build the facility.

During the grand opening celebration, Dave Holmberg Sr. received a special honour from de Jong on behalf of the provincial government.

Holmberg was presented with the Medal of Good Citizenship to acknowledge not only his contributions to the hospice but to numerous other community endeavours, including Discovery Trail, the Abbotsford Airport, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Ledgeview Golf Course.

Holmberg House is located on the Dave Lede Campus of Care on Marshall Road, adjacent to Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

The campus also includes Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and Matthew’s House respite home for children with complex health-care needs.

Holmberg House provides end-of-life care to adults as young as 19 in a home-like setting. It is named for Dave Holmberg Jr., who died of cancer in 2011 at the age of 48.

The 30,000-square-foot facility will also include grief support groups, volunteer training, education seminars and one-on-one support services.

Groundbreaking on Holmberg House began in 2013, and the home was originally slated to open the following year, but funding difficulties delayed construction.

De Jong referenced these “trials and tribulations” during his speech.

“It was during those times that we took a breath and said the destination was worth the few potholes in the road.”

For more information about Holmberg House, visit abbotsfordhospice.org.

(Photo below: MLA Mike de Jong (left) presents Dave Holmberg with the provincial Medal of Good Citizenship.)