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Bulletin: Roger's House officially opens its doors

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators Foundation, along with founding sponsors Home Hardware Stores Limited, Bell Canada, Great-West Life, the Ottawa Citizen, The Pat Butler Group of Companies, Direct Energy, Eugene Melnyk and family; and Scotiabank, are pleased to announce the official grand opening of Roger's House, the pediatric palliative care facility named in honour of beloved hockey coach, friend and mentor Roger Neilson.

Built on the grounds of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Roger's House is only the second facility of its kind in Canada as it was modelled after Canuck Place Children's Hospice in Vancouver. Its objective is to enhance the comfort and quality of life for children and their families living with a life-limiting illness.

"This is a proud day for the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club and the foundation," said Ottawa Senators owner and governor Eugene Melnyk. "Roger's House is symbolic of what a community can do when they put their hearts and minds behind one great project."

"Roger would be humbled today by this world-class facility that bears his name," said Ottawa Senators president and chief executive officer Roy Mlakar. "The children and families who will benefit from the services provided - it's something we should all be proud of as a community."

"Roger's House was made possible because of the tremendous generosity of the community and the leadership of the Ottawa Senators," said Julie Tubman, chair of Roger's House and vice-chair of the CHEO board. "When we combine the passion of staff to deliver the best care possible with this outstanding facility, we know we've scored a huge victory for children, youth and families."

Many unique partnerships were forged in the building of the facility as more than 300 companies and organizations donated $2 million in goods, services and expertise to the construction of Roger's House.

The remaining $2.5 million needed was raised by the Ottawa Senators Foundation as more than 75,000 individuals from the Ottawa region, across Canada and the globe made donations. In addition, more than 400 community-based events helped raise almost $750,000, while the Ontario Trillium Foundation provided a grant of $75,000 to help furnish and equip Roger's House. The list of donors and charitable events goes on and on and can be seen at

In its continuing support of Roger's House, the Ontario Government has committed to funding up to 90 per cent of the annual operating costs each and every year. The Ottawa Senators Foundation will raise the remaining 10 per cent, which is estimated to be approximately $300,000 annually.

Roger's House is scheduled to welcome its first children and families on May 15. A public open house is scheduled for Saturday, April 29, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and everyone is encouraged to see this special facility, including memorabilia from Roger's personal residence, for themselves on this day.

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Roger's House fact sheet

- Named in memory of Roger Neilson, who died of two forms of cancer on June 21, 2003.
- Total capital budget is approximately $4.5 million, of which more than $2 million was donated by the construction industry and $2.5 million was raised by the Ottawa Senators Foundation.
- Nearly 300 construction and building companies have generously donated their time, expertise, labour and materials to Roger's House.
- The Ottawa Senators Foundation and Ottawa Senators Hockey Club have raised more than $2.5 million thanks to generous donations from the Ottawa region, across Canada and friends of Neilson's from around the world.
- The Ontario Government has committed to funding up to 90 per cent of the annual operating costs each and every year; the Ottawa Senators Foundation will raise the remaining 10 per cent.
- Located on the campus of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, directly across from the Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre. Grand opening is April 21, 2006.
- Roger's House will offer pediatric palliative care to children and their families dealing with progressive life-limiting illnesses, not just cancer.

Roger's House is

- approximately 20,000 sq. ft
- two family suites
- eight patient beds
- kitchen, dining room, games room, office space, nurses' station, staff room, garden and outdoor patio
- will feature one of the largest Snoezelen (Snoo-ze-len) rooms in Ontario, which is specially designed to assist children through sensory stimulation
- decorated with memorabilia from Roger's personal residence just outside of Peterborough, as well as special items from his life the second facility of its kind and has been modeled after Canuck Place in Vancouver, BC


Roger's House: Backgrounder

Roger's House... From a dream to reality

In August 2003, the Ottawa Senators Foundation announced plans to honour Roger Neilson with the construction of a pediatric palliative-care hospice on the grounds of CHEO. Construction for Roger's House began on March 30, 2005, and was completed in March 2006. The dream has become a reality.

Roger's House provides comprehensive pediatric palliative care for children, youth and their families who are faced with a progressive, life-limiting illness. Roger's House is a 20,000-square-foot home equipped to provide optimal respite and end-of-life care for up to eight children and youth.

The home has:
- Six bedrooms with the flexibility to accommodate children and youth with varying levels of care.
- Two family suites to allow for togetherness and privacy during end-of-life care.
- Common living space, including kitchen, family room, library, games room, and more.

Roger's House.... A program beyond its walls

The Rogers House program extends beyond its walls and includes:

Pediatric palliative care outreach
The team will provide: access to the latest practices for physicians and other health care providers, 24-hour consultation services via telephone, telemedicine and home visits; and support and education for families and those involved with caring for a dying child and youth.

Residential hospice care
Roger's House is a home away from home that will provide a unique environment for temporary respite (both planned and emergency), acute pain and distressing symptom management; holistic end-of-life care and transition care.

Grief and bereavement care
Support for family members, either in preparation for an eventual death and/or for the first year following the death of the child/youth.

Roger's House.... Built by the community

A significant amount of construction materials and time for Roger's House was provided at no charge and included professional services from architects, electricians, general contractors, functional planners, superintendents, lumber and other building material providers.

More than 300 construction partners have provided support in the way of materials, time and expertise.

Total cost of the construction was $4.5 million, of which $2 million was provided as in-kind donations from the construction community. Fundraising efforts of the Ottawa Senators Foundation provided $2.5 million.

Funding and operations

The annual operating budget for Roger's House is approximately $2.1 million, which is funded by the Province of Ontario.

The Ottawa Senators Foundation, through continued fundraising initiatives, is also supporting the operational cost with an annual amount of $300,000.

Roger's House board of directors Julie Tubman, chair
Erin Crowe
Pat Elliott-Miller
Ruth Hartanto
Ian Hendry
Sylvie Lamoureux
Tammy Mlakar
Chad Schella

Senior administration staff
Lloyd Cowin, executive director
Marion Rattray, manager palliative care

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