$20,000 to Kelowna hospital put towards for youth with mental illness

Kelowna General Hospital’s courtyard has been revitalized

For a young person suffering with mental illness, the hospital can be a difficult place. But now, thanks to the generosity of a local mother, the Adolescent Psychiatric Unit at Kelowna General Hospital is a little brighter.

On June 26, 2017, Elizabeth Koersen’s son, Robert, chose to take his own life at the age of 26 after a long, painful struggle with mental illness. Since then, the Kelowna mother has been waiting for the right project to honour his life, one characterized by selfless acts of service, in an uplifting and positive way, according to KGH news release.

Upon graduating from Okanagan Mission Secondary in 2009, Robert enlisted in the armed forces and later became an emergency medical responder. He was active with the International Peshmerga volunteers, a team of veterans providing training and mentoring services to the Kurdish people in Iraq. Drawn to being of service, Robert selflessly made his way to the other side of the globe to offer hope, moral support and medical aid to the soldiers on the frontlines, the release said.

RELATED: Kelowna Foundation contributed $500,000 to JoeAnna’s House project at KGH

When Koersen learned of the APU clinical teams desire to transform the unit’s existing outdoor courtyard to be more welcoming and hopeful for their young patients, she knew she wanted to help. In Robert’s honour, she gifted $20,000 to the KGH Foundation to fund the revitalization of the courtyard and commission an artist to paint the walls in a mural inspired by her son’s love of nature and wildlife.

“Robert spent some time at KGH,” said Koersen. “Even though he can no longer be with us, his beautiful way of uplifting others remains. I’m proud of him. And I know he would have loved what we’ve made possible for young people who are struggling.”

“The transformation is really unbelievable,” said Colleen McEwan, manager of the APU. “Our patients are going through a lot. To be able to come outside and just sit in this beautiful space, see the sunshine… it’s a really special gift for these kids.”

If you are considering suicide, or if you are worried about someone who may be, call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) for free, 24/7, confidential support, or go to your nearest hospital.


edit@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Congestion on William R. Bennett Bridge

A car crash has caused delays for Northbound traffic

Kelowna Rotary Club donates to feed local school kids

The donation will help fund ‘backpack’ feeding program for school-age children

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne to perform at Stuart Park

The Blues musician will release his 10th album and will perform on New Years Eve

James and Jamesy return to the Okanagan

The comedic duo will be performing O Christmas Tea in Oliver, Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

Canadian passports now available in Salmon Arm

The Service Canada office on Shuswap Street will provide weekday service in English.

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

New B.C. Lions coach DeVone Claybrooks adds eight to coaching staff

DeVone Claybrooks has filled out his staff for the 2019 season

Two-year-old attacked by cougar near Mission, B.C.

Boy not seriously injured in incident on Monday afternoon

Year in review: Public beach access a hot topic for Lake Country residents

Gable Beach was a contentious issue for Lake Country

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Most Read