On Thursday, June 8, former UFC strawweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, strawweight Loopy Godinez and Vancouver Canucks mascot FIN visited Canuck Place Children’s Hospice as part of UFC 289: NUNES vs. ALDANA fight week.
“The children and families were so thrilled to share time in the garden with Valentina and Loopy,” said Debbie Butt, Director of Communications, Marketing & Events for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. “For families facing uncertainty with their child’s diagnosis, the burden of disease can have a profound impact. With UFC athletes, we celebrate the significance of the tiniest moments for children with the bravest and most vulnerable hearts. Short lives deserve the gift of great days.”
During the event, Valentina and Loopy visited pediatric patients and their families, delivering gifts, playing games, and offering positive words of encouragement.
We had a great time visiting the kids and their families here today,” said Shevchenko. “The things that Canuck Place do for the kids here in hospice care are very important. This place is about taking care of the kids and showing them as much love as possible while bringing them positive energy each day. The staff and everyone here go above and beyond for these kids and you can tell that they love them with all their heart. This is an amazing place and I’m glad we were able to be here today.”
Canuck Place Children’s Hospice is British Columbia’s and the Yukon’s pediatric palliative care program. Canuck Place operates 13 patient beds and eight family suites through two hospices in Vancouver and Abbotsford. Over 871 children living with life-threatening illnesses and families from five provincial health regions receive Canuck Place inpatient and community-based care (in-home / in-hospital).
“Canuck Place is amazing,” said Godinez. “I think it’s great that we have a facility that provides this type of care for children here in Vancouver. It’s great to have a place where patients and families can come and receive comfort while giving the kids a proper lifestyle during the time they have left, and as hard as this is, it’s even better that we can come and also bring them some joy.”
In conjunction with the athlete visit, Canuck Place served as one of the three core beneficiaries of the UFC 289 – 50/50 raffle in partnership with the Canucks For Kids Fund. The event raised more than $190,000 CAD with a percentage being granted to the organization.
UFC’s corporate social responsibility program, #UFCInTheCommunity, strategically collaborates with partners, sponsors, and athletes to develop additional charitable programs and funding sources to help bolster and inspire the local community. For more information, please visit UFCFOUNDATION.