Edmonton father’s freezing fundraiser in daughter’s memory surpasses goal
An Edmonton father camping out in the bitter January cold in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital has exceeded his donation goal in just one day.
Peter Burgess has been through the kind of heartache most of us can’t even imagine.
His beautiful and healthy three-year-old girl, Elan, had several seizures one day out of the blue. She was immediately rushed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital where her condition improved slightly.
A CT scan revealed a healthy-looking brain. But later at the hospital, her heart stopped beating.
Burgess said he and his wife Candace watched as the physicians gave Elan CPR.
“Her tiny chest [was being] compressed by just three of the doctor’s fingers,” Burgess said. She was resuscitated and transferred into the pediatric intensive care unit. Everyone was hoping for the best.
But the next time the parents saw their little girl, she had taken a turn for the worse.
“She was hooked up to a ventilator which was breathing for her,” Burgess said.
“Only then did we realise how desperate the situation was.”
Another CT scan revealed a brain stem so swollen, that circulation to her brain had been choked off. This was just six hours after they had arrived at the hospital.
“My little girl was brain dead,” Burgess said.
Three days later, the parents held their daughter in their arms for the last time as she was taken off life support.
Despite the tragic end to their visit, the family has supported Stollery fundraisers ever since.
“I will do anything for the Stollery, they did so much for us,” Burgess said.
He said the staff did the best job they could and were so compassionate towards his family – especially Elan’s older brother, Ben.
This year, her father is braving the frigid temperatures in Edmonton in an effort to raise money for the hospital.
His original goal was $8,000 which was reached after one day of fundraising. Burgess revised his goal Saturday to $10,000.
“The generosity of Edmontonians is just tremendous,” Burgess said. “This event began in my mind nine years ago when my daughter Elan died, and I anticipated it would be well received, but this is unprecedented. Just amazing.”
He will be camped out in the Rainbow Valley Campground from January 6-13. He is sleeping in a tent, cooking outdoors and sharing his daughter’s story with anyone who will listen.
“It’s supposed to drop down to -40 C down here by Wednesday but I’m not coming in,” Burgess said.
It’s Burgess’ hope that camping out in the cold will fund four new paediatric beds that help regulate temperatures for premature babies.
His daughter’s death remains a mystery.
“We call it an undiagnosed seizure disorder, but we’ll never know why it happened.”
He is welcoming visitors all week to site #29 – just look for the orange tent. You can support his fundraising efforts by donating here.
with files from Jennifer Ivanov
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.