Comfort pack donations for survivors

Vancouver Island - The Nanaimo Forensic Nurse Examiner program received 70 pre-packed patient comfort kits from a group of six friends who are putting compassion into action. After researching different community services they learned about the Forensic Nursing program, which provides specialized medical care for all genders and ages who are seeking medical forensic care. “It was a perfect fit for our cause,” said Brooke Nikirk, one of the donors.

Nikirk, along with friends Christy Black, Andrew Todsen, Alison Hull, Anita Jezowski and Ryan Windley, set about creating comfort packs, filling them with personal items, toiletries and clean clothing. “We received so much support from our family, friends and people in our communities. All of them made this incredible project come to life,” said Nikirk. “We set up drop-off spots to gather items, and we were so overjoyed and filled with love to see all the items pouring in.”

The group of six friends collected enough donations of toiletries, socks, gum, lip balm, journals and pre-package clothing for 70 kits for male or female patients.

The donation was gratefully accepted by Aimee Falkenberg, the Coordinator for Central and North Island Forensic Nurse Examiner Program. The simple act of kindness provides not only practical support, but the comfort of knowing that people care about patients’ wellbeing, she said.  The patient comfort packs will be distributed across Vancouver Island.

“We’re so grateful for this donation on behalf of our patients who have just experienced an extremely traumatic event,” said Falkenberg. “It’s a wonderful demonstration of compassion in action.”

The experience of building the kits was personally rewarding, said Nikirk. “Together we can make a difference and we would like to believe that we did spread some good will to support these survivors,” she said.  “We will never forget this experience and will continue to support this cause in the future.”

About the Forensic Nurse Examiner Program: Island Health has Forensic Nurse Examiners in communities across the Island. They provide specialized forensic medical care for people of all genders and ages who have experienced sexual assault and/or domestic violence, and can see survivors up to seven days after an assault. Forensic Nurse Examiners offer patients options for their care and collect forensic samples if the patient is choosing to do so. Forensic Nurses also work with health, social and legal services to make sure survivors are supported beyond the examination room.  All Island Health emergency departments can provide access to the Forensic Nurse Examiner Program. People can also arrange for care by phoning the Vancouver Island Crisis Line at 1-888-494-3888. For more information about seeking support after sexual assault or domestic violence, visit our sexual assault and violence pages.

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Cheryl Bloxham