Peter Burgess endured a week of brutal cold to raise over $40,000 for the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
Burgess began his annual outdoor campout on Jan. 5 and endured over a week of dangerously cold temperatures with wind chills into the mid-minus-40s.
His goal was to raise $15,000.
At the end of journey Saturday evening, he announced on Twitter he had surpassed his goal.
Money raised through his camping initiative will go towards purchasing less-invasive ventilators for the pediatric ICU transfer team.
Burgess has been raising money for the Stollery for several years now — a cause very dear to his heart.
His daughter, three-year-old Elan, passed away from unknown complications 10 years ago.
“I got a phone call from our daughter’s daycare. She was having trouble waking up from her nap,” Burgess said on Wednesday. “My wife went to pick her up and when she got there, Elan was having seizures.”
She was taken to the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Burgess said he watched as the physicians rushed to save Elan.
“I was holding her and she had a heart attack,” Burgess said. “Despite some amazing and heroic efforts by the medical staff, [they came to us later] and said, ‘We are still going to treat Elan, but from this point on, we are really treating your family because Elan is brain-dead.’”
Burgess said losing Elan was the beginning of a long journey with the hospital.
“We had a seven-year-old son, Ben,” Burgess said. “I had to tell him his sister wasn’t going to come home. You can imagine as adults, we’re destroyed. But he’s seven years old. My instinct was to insulate him from it.”
He said the Stollery gave him the strength — and the age-appropriate words — to break the news to his son.
“It helps him even today,” Burgess said. “The Stollery is about gifts. They give life, they give help, they gave me the words to tell Ben. There are some really happy things that come out of the Stollery.”
If you’d like to donate, you can head here.
— With files from Morgan Black