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Sunny Days Ahead

The opening of the Teck Acute Care Centre at BC Children’s Hospital last fall welcomed patients into an innovative, purpose-built, state-of-the-art hospital. It’s transforming pediatric care. But our work isn’t done. BC Children’s Hospital is one of the few pediatric medical centres in North America with a world class acute care centre, research institute, mental health facility, and soon, rehabilitation centre, all on a single campus.

Demolition has begun in areas of the 1982 hospital building, to build a new home for Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children. Sunny Hill, currently located in East Vancouver, is the only rehabilitation centre of its kind in BC, a provincial resource providing specialized services to children with complex medical, physical and developmental needs.

The relocated facility will combine increased accessibility and innovative technology to meet the needs of their unique patient populations. Thousands of children and their families from across BC come to Sunny Hill each year, seeking assessments, diagnoses and rehabilitation for conditions affecting their development. Some of these conditions include: cerebral palsy, genetic conditions, autism, vision and/or hearing loss, acquired brain injuries, traumatic injuries affecting mobility, and children with prenatal exposure to alcohol or other drugs.

“Sunny Hill is there when a child is born with or develops a condition such as cerebral palsy or autism,” said Dr. Nancy Lanphear, the head Developmental Pediatrics at Sunny Hill. “It’s also there for the families who never thought they would need us, until the day their child is in a car accident or suffers an unexpected stroke or cardiac arrest.”

Sunny Hill is often the next step in the health care journey for children and their families once their acute medical issues are cared for at BC Children’s Hospital. Sunny Hill kids are not “sick” in the traditional sense of the word, but rather they are learning or relearning how to communicate, walk and live their lives. The unique nature and complexity of their needs may make it difficult to find all the support they need at home or in their community.

“Sunny Hill is the place where kids and families learn how to accept and eventually thrive with their “new normal,” continued Dr. Lanphear. “Courage, strength, perseverance–these words personify the children and families we see here every day at Sunny Hill.”

The relocation of Sunny Hill is part of the final phase of a three-part redevelopment project undertaken by the BC Children’s and BC Women’s Redevelopment Project. To support this final phase, the Foundation has committed to raising an additional $12- million to help create and enhance a state-of-the-art environment for Sunny Hill’s unique patient populations, including an enhanced gym with seamless indoor/outdoor spaces, a larger multi-level therapy pool and an outdoor mobility garden. The Enhancement Initiative will also ensure that patients have access to the technology, equipment and program enhancements that they need to ensure their best possible health outcomes.

Fundraising for the Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children Enhancement Initiative was launched at the 23rd Annual For Children We Care gala, presented by Peterson on February 18. Through the generosity and leadership of the Chinese Canadian community, more than $3.3 million was raised that evening toward the $12 million goal.


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