My parents, Bruce and Georgina Kehler, live in Comox but my dad has always traveled across BC, from as far as Port Hardy, the northern tip of Vancouver Island, through the Lower Mainland, up to Enderby and Vernon in the Interior. Always on the road, running his businesses from his truck and his multiple phones.
He was always a phone call away. On November 8, 2008, he showed up at my house while in town for business. Unable to sleep. Restless. Not feeling like himself. He asked me to take him to the hospital…completely out of character for him. I took him to Eagle Ridge Hospital (ERH); my local community hospital. After he was settled, I went home to get some sleep. Later that night, he had a heart attack. Instead of worrying about phoning his family, the doctors and nurses at ERH focused on saving his life. They did what they were supposed to do. Look after the patient.
For this, we are FOREVER THANKFUL….
With a new lease on life, my dad set out to conquer the world once again. His businesses soared while he personally gave to every cause that approached him. He was on top of the world with not a want in the world, other than to help those who needed it more than he.
And then came April 21, 2017. Just 2 days after he turned 65. Our world came crashing down with the sudden loss of my dad. My mentor, my dad and my best friend. Not a single decision in my life was not discussed with my dad. I may not have followed his advice often but he was always my rock.
Our lives changed forever. He passed late on a Friday night and the weekend was a whirlwind of emotion (which of course has yet to stop). But I remember so vividly was how fast the flowers were pouring in. As beautiful as they were, I knew there was so much more that could be done. My dad was loved and cherished by many and he loved and cherished everyone too. He was a global philanthropist. He was a successful businessman. He was simply the best.
I remember saying to my mom, “we have no room for all these flowers, we need to choose a charity.” The answer was easy. ERH saved his life. They gave us an extra 8.5 years that we might not have otherwise had. So I tracked down the Executive Director’s number and before we knew it Charlene and her team at Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation had the donation link up and ready within a couple of hours. The Foundation went above and beyond to get this going. I had no idea what this would grow to but I knew it would be more useful than more bouquets of flowers.
My dad was larger than life. And as the fund grew, I knew I wanted something big for my dad. Something that my family could be proud of. The donations amounted to about $43,000. This blew our minds. My dad was loved. He was appreciated. He was valued.
As a family we didn’t know what we wanted to do with this money. And as time went by and we grieved, I knew I wanted something big. Something to reflect my dads larger than life persona. And there it was staring right at me…an announcement that ERH was being expanded. A new cardiac wing. And the opportunity to name it after my dad.
Bruce Kehler Cardiology
And so the planning began. On behalf of Sharon Perry, Chartered Professional Accountant, my mom, Georgina and sisters, Cori & Dawn, our former business partners, Canex Building Supplies, Country Lumber and Standard Building Supplies, we have come together to make the donation of $1,000,000. Surrounded by family, friends and our community, we announced it live at the Foundation’s Gala on September 28, 2017.
Our thanks to the doctors and nurses on that night of November 8, 2008 just didn’t seem to be enough for these extra 8.5 years but we certainly hope that every time they walk into Bruce Kehler Cardiology, we hope they remember our thanks and think of a man, my dad, Bruce Kehler, who gave everything he had to those who needed it more.
We hope this donation will be the start of the Foundation’s campaign for expansion that is so needed by our community. We hope that more families will get extra years with their loved ones, just as we did.
#sharingiscaring as my dad always said.
Our family could not have gotten to where we are today without the love and outpouring of support by so many. Our many thanks to those who donated and who have been there every step of the way with my family.
To my dad, we love and miss you more than anything. We know we are making you proud and continuing your legacy just as you would want, in our way. kkk (love, hugs and kisses)