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Hotel-Dieu unveils new ICU waiting room

Hospitals are places where you can expect to do all kinds of waiting, and not all of that waiting is the good kind.

Gunther and Judith Funkenhauser, whose son died in hospital six years ago, know this first-hand.

So to help make waiting easier for families in Windsor, the Funkenhausers used the funds raised from their annual charity golf tournament to refurbish Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital’s intensive care unit waiting room.

The new waiting room was unveiled Tuesday.

“I’m so happy for the hospital letting us do this,” said Gunther Funkenhauser, whose son Trevor died in 2006 of endocarditis, an infection of the aortic valve which caused Trevor to suffer a series of strokes. “This is a bittersweet day.”

The walls of the new waiting room are painted in soothing moss green tones and there are long couches and a few reclining chairs so visitors can lie down and sleep. A section of the ceiling is decorated with a panel of twinkling LED lights, mimicking a starry sky.

And rather than show the view of the hospital parking lot, the room’s windows are decorated with translucent decals of seaside and mountain landscapes.

“This waiting room is a small but precious representation of their kindness,” said Dr. Natalie Malus, medical director of the hospital’s ICU.

Since 2010, the Funkenhausers have been hosting an annual charity golf tournament in Trevor’s memory. The event is also meant to raise awareness about organ donation. When he died, Trevor’s liver and kidneys were donated and saved the lives of three recipients.

“He would have wanted that,” said Gunther Funkenhauser, referring to how his son would have wanted to help others have a second chance at life by donating his organs.

Funkenhauser said the family intends to keep raising funds for the hospital’s foundation and to keep advocating for organ donation.

So far, the family has given $40,000 to the foundation through its fundraising initiatives.

In Windsor, about 17 per cent of the population is registered to donate organs, said Paula Schmidt, a donation co-ordinator with the Trillium Gift of Life network, the province’s organ and tissue donation agency. In Ontario, there are about 1,500 people waiting for an organ donation, she said.

For more information about donating visit beadonor.ca.