Angela Morrison was a bubbly high school graduate who loved gymnastics, scary movies, her siblings and reading.
After she lost her battle with depression in March 2018, her family and friends began looking for ways to remember her. They got their wish on Friday when they unveiled Angela’s Corner, a newly renovated space in the Victoria Hospital’s mental health unit.
“It’s overwhelming to see how many people stepped forward, became involved and created this space where kids can feel safe and relax and unwind and just be a kid,” said Sheldon Hirschfeld, Angela’s father.
“We didn’t realize how much she was actually cared about by everybody,” added her mother, Shannon.
Angela’s Corner is designed to provide rest and reading material for the roughly 500 children and youth admitted to the hospital’s mental health unit every year. Previously, the space was empty, but now it will help youth struggling with depression find a place where they can just be a kid.
“We can all remember those hideaways we had growing up where we routinely could fall into a book and just relax,” nursing unit manager Adam Pearson said. “Replicating it here, in a safe environment, is invaluable. I can’t stress that enough.”
Family and friends approached the Victoria Hospital Foundation following Angela’s death. They wanted to collaborate on a memorial project, and a number of local business and organizations—like Prince Albert’s Boston Pizza where Angela worked as a server—soon joined them.
“I have to admit, it was a bit chaotic at times because there were so many people involved,” Victoria Hospital Foundation CEO Sherry Buckler said. “But that’s half the fun of it. We came together. We redesigned this space for the children, and now the kids have this great space, especially in the wintertime when you can’t go outside but you want to be near natural light.”
The space is filled with tributes to Angela, including her graduation photo, a mural created by local artist Birgit Raduenz, and shelves and shelves of donated books.
Sheldon and Shannon hope this place becomes a refuge for youth undergoing problems that are similar to Angela’s. Her family loved her, he explained, but youth struggling with their mental health need more than just love.
“So many folks feel they’re not perfect if they don’t feel well, but I think it’s important that they come to the realization that they can talk and that there are people who listen and care,” he said.