How doing yoga can make a positive impact for a child with life-threatening illness

We began our partnership with Canuck Place Children’s Hospice last month and continue to offer Karma Classes this spring. With your help we are providing comfort and care to children living with life-threatening illnesses and the families who love them.

When you attend a Karma Class you are supporting families like the Cunningham’s, who rely on Canuck Place services. Book your karma class today!


Sometimes the greatest gifts are found through challenge and perseverance. These gifts reveal human resiliency and the power of unconditional love.

Lumina arrived January 13, 2016. Prior to birth, she was diagnosed with Walker-Warburg syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the development of muscles, brain, and eyes. There is no cure for Lumina’s condition.

This life-threatening diagnosis was both shocking and overwhelming for Dwayne and Angela, but Lumina was welcomed and accepted as a beautiful addition to their family.

“We realized that whether Lumina lived a short time or a long life, we would love her unconditionally, despite any risks,” said Dwayne. “We embraced our vulnerability and prayed for whatever time we could share together.”

Lumina arrived with complex medical needs. In an environment of stress and exhaustion, Dwayne and Angela were introduced to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Amid the chaos of meetings and medical procedures, the Canuck Place team of nurses, doctors, and counsellors was there to provide care planning and compassion.

“Our first visit to Canuck Place was lovely,” said Dwayne. “It was immediately apparent that children and families were at home there. Our expectations prepared us for a medical facility and, instead, we found a warm, welcoming environment.”

Within this calming, home-like setting, the Cunninghams, including Lumina’s older sister Hazel, learned to savour their time together and focus on the love shared in little moments.

Day-to-day care for Lumina is medically complex. She requires medication twice daily, her meals need to be prepared with a blender to be fed through her G-Tube, and she suffers seizures regularly. Lumina’s care routine requires a high level of medical competency and knowledge, so Dwayne and Angela need to be at her side at all times.

Life is challenging, but they have the support of Canuck Place who provides them with medical respite care. This allows the family to access clinical care at home, through the 24-hour nursing line, or at the hospice where Lumina can receive pain and symptom management while the family is cared for too. This grants the family the time and space to focus on the love they share.

“Canuck Place provides trusted counsel, expert care, and medical respite,” said Dwayne. “The joy we have now is immeasurably greater than we could have expected. Every smile, laugh, touch, and breath is such a brilliant gift.”

Lumina reminds her family daily that moments matter. While the future is uncertain, today is a gift to be celebrated.

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