“A garden greenhouse. A nice, relaxed space for the doctors and nurses, who are heroes in my eyes.”
That is the vision that came to Ed Cheung as he contemplated how to express his gratitude to those who have been responsible for his care over the past couple of years. Soon, that vision will become a reality, thanks to a $200,000 donation from Ed and his family.
“I’ve always been fond of the outdoors,” says Ed. “I truly believe in the healing powers of fresh air and I wanted to create a beautiful outdoor space for staff and patients to enjoy.”
About one and a half years ago, Ed was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Since then, he’s been receiving chemotherapy treatments at Burnaby Hospital under the care of Dr. Simon Yu.
“From the very start, I was warmly welcomed. The staff were keen to make me comfortable and I am so grateful for that. Chemotherapy has taken a toll on me mentally and physically, and the medical staff have always gone out of their way to ensure my comfort and care,” he says.
“The greenhouse is my way to say thank you to all these professionals and heroes.”
For Ed, a former real estate and development entrepreneur, philanthropy has always been a priority. Since his days as a Lions Club member he recognizes that we must all give if we want to continue to improve the lives in our community.
“More than ever, it is important to give so we can continue to innovate, learn, and help the community that Burnaby Hospital is a part of. The more people that give, the merrier!” he remarks.
Once complete, the greenhouse will be a welcome respite for staff and patients alike, looking to escape the challenging environment that medical facilities can often be. In a small way, it will perhaps be a microcosm of the natural beauty Ed has been in awe of since arriving in British Columbia from Hong Kong in 1972.
“My greatest memories are my outdoor adventures with my three sons,” he reminisces. “Whether we were camping, fishing, or hiking, we always had a great time, and I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to relive these experiences with my four grandchildren too.”
It’s clear that nothing is more important to Ed than his family.
“When I received the news of my cancer diagnosis, the first that came to my mind was my family. I wondered if I did enough to be there for them. And I wanted to make as many memories as possible with them. But with the pandemic, this year has been particularly difficult. I miss my grandchildren’s hugs, and dinners with my sons. But I know my journey now involves self-motivation to make it through each day and week, and I remind myself that my kids are doing well, and I do not need to worry about them. I am proud to have raised 3 successful men.”
His sons, Ryan, Stephen, and Trevor, are no doubt just as proud of their father, who in gratitude to others, continues to give as he fights on.
A Poem by Ed Cheung in honour of his sons:
I pave, pave my runway, early in the day.
I layout, layout my flight plans, late into the night.
I work; I work, under the heat scrolling sun to see my dreams come true.
I watch; I watch, my “planes” taking off from the runway.
I see; yes, I can see my “planes” flying high in the clear blue mighty sky.
I dance; I dance for the fruition and joy of my plans.
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