The dream of a free-standing hospice for adults Abbotsford moved a little closer to reality Friday with the official groundbreaking of the future Holmberg House.
The $12-million facility will serve as the city's first residential hospice for adults 19 years and older, and will offer bereavement and support services for their families as well as for the community.
Abbotsford Hospice Society executive director Deborah Lehmann thanked supporters who have kept the dream alive after it was first conceived 27 years ago.
"You are all champions for the emotional health and dignity of patients and their families, and you have helped start the construction and begin a legacy of care for countless families throughout Abbotsford and the region," Lehmann said.
Among those champions are Lee and Dave Holmberg - the hospice is named in memory of their son Dave Jr. who succumbed to cancer in 2011 at the age of 48. Holmberg Sr. committed to raising $1 million - he's raised $800,000 to date, including a personal contribution of $650,000.
"It's great the community has recognized the need for a hospice," he said.
Holmberg House is part of the Dave Lede Campus of Care, which will include a Canuck Place Children's Hospice and Matthew's House, a respite facility for families with sick children.
The campus is a first of its kind in Canada.
The province contributed $3.5 million to the hospice, while Abbotsford contributed the land.
AHS needs to raise $5 million more to complete construction and to begin operations.