Young Philanthropist Brings Holiday Cheer to Kids at KGH

KELOWNA, BC, December 29, 2021 – A couple of young ladies – a KSS student and a local physician – brought smiles and cheer to kids and staff at KGH on Christmas Eve.

L to R: KGH Nurse Tianna, Dr. Alex van Duyvendyk, Jenae, Tristan, KGH Nurse Shayna in the paediatric unit at KGH…with a special holiday delivery.

The paediatric unit is a familiar place for Jenae, having spent the holiday season there years ago. In part, due to that experience, Jenae was inspired to fundraise and save money for several months in order to purchase and deliver presents to kids living her experience – spending their holidays in the hospital instead of at home.

“In the fall, Jenae came to me with this wonderful idea,” says Dr. Alex van Duyvendyk, Interior Health physician and a family friend of Jenae’s who has also spent time as a patient in the hospital over the holiday season. “We know what it’s like not to be home for Christmas and wanted to bring a little surprise and joy to the kids staying at KGH this holiday season.”

A wonderful idea indeed. Having received permission from the unit and following COVID-19 protocols, Jenae and Dr. van Duyvendyk wheeled a wagon overflowing with gifts to the Paediatric Unit of KGH and delivered toy surprises with kind smiles to kids and their families on the morning of December 24.

“I just wanted to bring a little joy and cheer to kids when they might need it the most,” says Jenae. “I know from experience what it’s like to spend the holidays in a hospital bed and I thought this would be a nice surprise and distraction for these kids.”

Jenae’s generosity resulted in smiles, giggles, and squeals of delight emanating from the KGH Paediatric unit, lifting spirits and brightening everyone’s day – including the wonderful KGH staff working on the unit on Christmas Eve.

“We are so blessed to have young philanthropists like Jenae in our community, who want to give back,” says Dr. van Duyvendyk. “Giving truly does change everything.”

Since 1978, the KGH Foundation has worked with a generous community to raise funds to support world-class healthcare close to home for a rapidly expanding and diverse population in the interior of BC.  Today, the KGH Foundation is the lead fundraising organization for Kelowna General Hospital and its associated facilities, JoeAnna’s House, and Central Okanagan Hospice House.

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