Matthew’s House in Abbotsford celebrates grand opening

The respite facility is the first of the Campus of Care projects to open.

Doug and Andrea Froese take a break from grand opening celebrations at Matthew's House on Thursday. This is one of five children's suites that are available at the facility.



Doug and Andrea Froese of Abbotsford first met with representatives of Communitas Supportive Care Society in 2007 to discuss their dream of building a respite facility for children with severe disabilities.

They were inspired by their son Matthew, then six years old, and the challenges they often faced as a family in meeting all his needs.

Matthew passed away in August 2010 at the age of nine, but Thursday marked the grand opening of Matthew’s House as part of the Campus of Care project on Marshall Road next to Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

“I never would have believed that Matthew wouldn’t have had a chance to stay here (in Matthew’s House) … but his time was up here,” Andrea said tearfully in her speech at the opening celebration.

“This is the house that Matthew built.”

Doug thanked everyone involved in the project over the years.

“We are very excited to celebrate the opening of Matthew’s House, and we know it will be a blessing to the community and the families it serves.”

Matthew was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, depriving him of oxygen for several minutes. His disabilities included vision impairment, an inability to walk or speak, stiffened limbs and eating problems.

He died unexpectedly when he stopped breathing and could not be revived.

Matthew’s House, which is facilitated by Communitas Supportive Care Society, will provide a “home away from home” for children like Matthew from the ages of four to 18 who live with complex health-care needs.

Up to five children at a time can stay at the home-like facility for anywhere from two days to two weeks. Staff will include residential support workers and licensed practical nurses, supervised by a registered nurse.

Two family suites enable parents to stay temporarily while their child makes the transition to a stay without them.

The 4,000-square-foot home will welcome its first guest on Nov. 25.

Matthew’s House is the first of the Campus of Care partners to open. The project also includes Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and Holmberg House, an adult hospice operated by the Abbotsford Hospice Society.

Dignitaries attending the grand opening included Mayor Bruce Banman, and MLAs Darryl Plecas and Simon Gibson.

The public is invited to Matthew’s House for an open house on Saturday, Nov. 23 from 1 to 5 p.m. The event will include tours, refreshments and draw prizes.

Those who would like to make a contribution to the ongoing operation of Matthew’s House can do so by contacting Communitas at 604-850-6608 or by visiting mattshouse.ca.

Just Posted

Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings

B.C.’s prosecution service says judge’s decision reveals ‘errors of law’

Arrest warrant issued for Langley City man

David Main is wanted on numerous charges including obstructing an officer

Langley RCMP seek man wanted for drug charges

David Main was last seen living in Langley City.

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Pellet gun prompts Langley RCMP to respond

A report of a firearm drew a large number of officers to Langley City.

VIDEO: Hundreds line up at Langley farm for pancakes and a chance to help

The 14th annual Krause Berry Farm breakfast with Santa raised almost $4,700.

Six-year-old boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Mother of sick Sooke boy asks government to help fund treatments

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

Be ladder safe both at work and home

WorkSafeBC wants you to keep safe while hanging those Christmas lights this year

Cold weather shelter too full, buses homeless to other communities

The Gateway of Hope shelter has had send some people to other shelters as they ran out of room.

B.C. overdose deaths surpass 1,200

96 people died of illicit drug overdoses in October

Feds agree to give provinces 75 per cent of pot tax revenues

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the agreement today

Red Scorpion associates cuffed in drug-trafficking bust

Kamloops RCMP lay charges in connection to Red Scorpion drug trafficking ring

BC Ferries adds extra sailings for Christmas

More than 175 sailings are being added, including 130 between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

Most Read