An Edmonton man slept outside in -32 C weather Saturday night — just a few steps away from the warmth and comfort of his home.
Peter Burjess braved the cold for the second year in a row to raise money for the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
Burjess has a history with the hospital. In 2007, his 3-year-old daughter, Elan, died there.
“Our daughter was in the stollery for three days, but really six hours, and she passed away,” he said.
A CT scan revealed the young girl was brain dead after suffering a seizure.
Ten years later, Elan’s family is raising money for the facility that supported them in their darkest days.
“Anything we can do for the Stollery, we’re ready and willing to do,” said Burjess, who calls himself the Freezing Father.
This weekend, that meant sleeping in a tent in his backyard in the Rutherford neighbourhood during a cold snap.
Burjess hopes to raise $15,000 for the Stollery so the PICU transport team can purchase a new ventilator. He said the ventilator uses a nasal cannula, which means children won’t have to be intubated with a tube down their throat — something Burjess said can be quite traumatic.
His daughter was intubated during her time at the hospital. Elan’s family is grateful for the staff who helped them during those three difficult days.
“We are so fortunate in Edmonton to have this facility. The people that work there, the doctors are amazing, the nurses are incredible, the support staff is second to none,” he said.
“If your kid is really sick, it’s the place you want to be. Just an amazing place. Miracles happen there.”
Burgess said Edmontonians are supportive of the Stollery.
Last year, he set an $8,000 goal for the inaugural Freezing Father Fundraiser, but surpassed it by $20,000.
“I truly believe that the support that the Stollery gets wouldn’t necessarily happen somewhere else,” he said.
People can donate to the cause on the Freezing Father Fundraiser website.
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.