The man who has become known across Alberta’s capital as Edmonton’s “freezing father” finished up his annual fundraiser for the Stollery Children’s Hospital on Friday night, raising over $35,000 for the facility by spending a week camping out in the cold.
“People are so generous,” Peter Burgess told Global News from his setup at the Rainbow Valley Campground. “It really goes to show you how generous people are in Edmonton and right across Alberta.”
Even though it’s the third year in a row Burgess has taken on the fundraising endeavour, a week in the cold still takes a toll even if he’s done it before.
Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ coverage of Edmonton’s “freezing father.”
“I’m going to go home, have a shower and get into bed,” Burgess said moments after the fundraiser finished up on Friday night. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
This year, Burgess is hoping the money he raised will help Edmonton’s children’s hospital pay for renovations to its pediatric intensive-care unit. It’s a place he spent time in during his young daughter’s final hours before her tragic death.
“Our Stollery story is a little different,” Burgess said. “It’s not a happy ending.”
Over a decade ago, Burgess’ three-year-old daughter Elan suffered unexpected seizures one day and was rushed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital. While her condition improved slightly, her heart later stopped beating while at the hospital.
Elan was resuscitated by staff at the hospital and then hooked up to a ventilator but a CT scan later revealed the little girl was brain dead. Three days later she was taken off life support.
Despite the tragic circumstances, Burgess said hospital staff did their best and treated the family with such compassion, something for which he is still grateful.
“I will do anything for the Stollery,” Burgess said when he started this year’s fundraiser last week. “They did so much for us.”
–With files from Global News’ Margeaux Maron