Almost 20 years after a playroom was built at Cariboo Memorial Hospital in memory of Avril Chevigny, Pioneer Log Homes has breathed new life into the space.
This month the company installed some log accents and log furniture, log colouring desk, and children-size log benches.
The pieces are made out of Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir, and were crafted by the company’s general manager and Avril’s father André Chevigny, and builders Joel Roorda, Shawn Oviatt, Dean Gilpin and André’s 16-year-old son Tévis.
“It was really special getting to work on the furniture with my son Té,” André said.
André also purchased a new DVD player and flat screen TV for the room. They also made a playful wooden sign that reads Avy’s Playroom.
Avril died of cancer on May 25, 1996 when she was only eight years old.
Initially the community helped raise $70,000 through the Avril Chevigny Fund to build the playroom, which is in close proximity to the emergency department.
“The hospital was renovating at the time so we pulled this room into the design,” André said of the room which takes advantage of natural light with a high ceiling and an outside glass wall.
There’s also a mural on the wall depicting characters from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and flooring popular for children to play on with toy vehicles.
André said he runs into people all the time who appreciate the room.
“It is so great that people can have a place for their kids while waiting at our hospital,” André said.
John Christoffersen, Avy’s Grade 2 and 3 teacher at 150 Mile House School, was present for the new furniture being installed and was touched to see a piece he wrote about Avy is still hanging prominently on the wall.
In the piece, Christoffersen wrote that the room was built for the pleasure of all children in Avy’s memory.
“Avril would be friends or talk with anybody as long as they spoke kindly and respectfully. Avril believed it was better to keep the peace among children than it is to have to make peace among children,” Christoffersen wrote.
Even today Christoffersen hands out an award to a student in his classroom in Avy’s memory who demonstrates her great qualities, he said.
André also appreciated the fact his father Albert Chevigny travelled to Williams Lake to be present for the installation.
“It was great to have dad’s support,” he said.
The hospital playroom continues to be well used by sick children and their siblings visiting the hospital for the past 19 years.
The Avril Chevigny Fund has helped and continues to help many children and their families in our community deal with cancer and challenges surrounding serious illnesses.
“So many different businesses have donated to the fund over the years, it is true community support,” André said.
To show its appreciation for the new furnishings, the hospital presented Pioneer Log Homes with a set of light blue medical scrub uniforms with the inscription: “Thank you Timber Kings from CMH,” referring to the HGTV show that has made Pioneer Log Homes famous across the world.
In fact, the day the furniture was being installed, members of the film crew for the TV show were there and said they have been back in the region for a few months working on footage for the upcoming third season.