Meet the Storytellers
We are grateful to those who generously shared very personal stories to assist others during this difficult time of life. Thank you to the experts who also shared their wisdom.
Catherine’s children, Lila and Noah, were 10 and 8 when their “Gumpa” Tony died in 2016.
On November 6th, 2014, David’s wife, Erica, was killed by a careless driver while walking her dog. Their three boys – Dylan, Gavin and Matthew – were 11, 9 and 6 years old at the time. *David also has videos featured in the KidsGrief.ca For Educators modules
Elaine’s husband, David, died of lung cancer in 2012. He spent the last weeks of his life in a hospital palliative care unit. Their four children, Eloise, Anais, Thomas and Frederick, were 4, 5, 8 and 9 at the time.
Galith’s husband, Eric, died in 2010, two years after being diagnosed with sinus cancer. He was 39. Their three children, Shirel, Gabriel and Benjamin, were 10, 9 and 4 at the time.
When Hamayun’s wife, Humara, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2013, it had metastasized to her lungs. Their daughter was a teenager and their son two years old when Humara died in 2014.
Jean and Omo
Jean and Omo’s son Ari was 2 years old when his friend Stella was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour. She died 16 months later, in 2012, at the age of 3. (You can learn more about Stella and her parents, Mishi and Aimee, in MyGrief.ca.)
Kelly’s son, Max, was 8 years old when his father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Bruno died 16 months later, in 2014, in a hospital palliative care unit.
Mishi & Aimee
Mishi and Aimee's daughter, Stella Joy, was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour at age two. She died 16 months later. Stella Joy has two younger brothers, Hugo and Sam.
Neenu’s husband, Shekhar, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013 and died a year later. Their sons were 8 and 10 when he died.
Valerie’s daughter Natalie was 9 when she died of leukemia. She had two sisters.
Victoria, British Columbia
Betty Davies is a Professor Emeritus with the School of Nursing, University of Victoria, British Columbia. Dr. Davies is internationally recognized for her work on death, dying and bereavement and for setting up the first free-standing children’s hospice in North America – Canuck Place in Vancouver.
Kimberley Widger is an Assistant Professor at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto. She has spent her entire career working with children, mostly those diagnosed with cancer. The goal of her research is to enhance the quality of palliative care received by children living with live-threatening illness and their families.
Honor, a mother of two children supported her father’s wish to have MAID; he died at age 79.
Jenny is the mother of three girls - Mae, Phoebe and Penelope. Her daughter Phoebe was diagnosed with leukemia when she was nine weeks old and died when she was five. Phoebe’s big sister and best friend Mae was 23 months old when Phoebe was diagnosed. Much of Phoebe’s treatment was received outside of Ottawa, and as a result Mae was away from her school community for several years through Phoebe’s illness.
Paul’s wife Suzanne died at age 56 due to complications from breast cancer. They have two children together.
Early Childhood Education Instructor
Ruth is a doctoral student in the faculty of graduate studies at Athabasca University. She is also a full-time instructor of Early Childhood Education at Red River College.
Resource/Learning Support Teacher
Shane, a resource teacher, works closely with children who have special needs.
Elementary School Principal
Sue is an elementary school principal with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. She has been a principal for 8 years and has worked in education for 15 years.
Andrea Warnick is a nurse, educator and grief therapist with a Master’s degree in Thanatology (the study of death). A Registered Psychotherapist, she specializes in providing grief support to individuals of all ages, families and communities. *Andrea also has videos featured in the KidsGrief.ca For Educators modules
Camara Van Breeman
Nurse Practitioner (family)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Camara van Breemen is a Nurse Practitioner, providing pediatric palliative care assessment, consultation and education in a variety of settings: within Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, at BC Children's Hospital and the community.
Social worker, Psychotherapist
Lysa Toye is an Expressive Arts Therapist and Master’s-trained Social Worker with a collaborative certificate in Palliative and Supportive Care. She has worked in paediatric, youth and adult mental health, palliative care, and bereavement.