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Plans for Rotary/Flames House unveiled

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames
The Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation announced the location of the Rotary/Flames House Wednesday as well as providing the media with architectural drawings of the $7 million dollar facility.

The hospice, which helps families caring for children with progressive and life threatening illnesses, will be built east of the Alberta Children's Hospital.

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"We're so proud to be involved with the Children’s Hospital and this hospice. Four hundred families in Alberta find themselves in desperate need of specialized support and they need the care," said Ken King, President and CEO of the Calgary Flames.

"These kids don’t only need to be hospitalized, but their medical needs are tremendously complex, so they need it 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

The Rotary/Flames House will not only be a safe haven for a number of families caring for terminally ill children, but it will also be comforting to know emergency specialists and caregivers are only steps away.

Lawrence Tofteland knows first hand how difficult and tiring it can be taking care of a loved one that suffers from a life threatening illness. Tofteland and his wife Natasha are parents of five-year-old Cale, who was diagnosed with a very rare degenerative disease and wasn't expected to live past the age of three.

They, along with their two other children, Ashley, 18 and Reid, 3, know how much of a blessing the hospice will be once it's up and running.

"The Rotary/Flames House with their round the clock medical staff will be an amazing facility that will help us on many levels," said Tofteland. "The ability to leave Cale over night and get a full nights sleep is something we never thought to experience."

Tofteland's wife, Natasha, agrees and is blown away at how the pieces of the puzzle are finally starting to come together.

"To come from a concept to actually having the plans in place and knowing that in the Fall of 2008 that we'll have a facility that will give so many families peace of mind," commented Natasha.

"It's going to help so many families in so many different ways; I still can’t fathom how amazing today is."

According to Natasha, the Rotary/Flames House will allow her family to spend time together in as normal of a setting as they can, without the look and feel of a hospital.

"It also allows us time to spend with our other children and it allows us time to spend by ourselves," added Natasha.

"The care that Cale requires is 24 hours, so it will give us the time where we don’t have to worry about Cale, knowing he is in good hands."

The Rotary/Flames House is set to open September of 2008 and is a two-story, 20,000 sq ft facility, which will have 11 bedrooms, including two family suites. The look and feel of the hospice will be that of a home, so patients and families can take comfort in a home-like setting with features including a kitchen, living room, den, dining area and rumpus room.

An aquarium will give a welcoming feel at the entrance of the home, as well as a beautiful yard for children to play in.

"We’ve tried to provide the nursing support or the support that we have to provide to these children relatively unobtrusive, so we don’t lose the whole family feel," said Brenda Fischer, VP Child and Women's Health at the Calgary Health Region.

Flames' Assistant Captain Robyn Regehr was on hand to help with the unveiling of the Rotary/Flames House. The Flames Foundation for Life, along with the Rotary Club of Calgary have donated $2.5 million towards the facility.

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