Winnipeg family channels grief into support for children's hospital
'When you go though something like this, you get a really, really big heart for other children'
A Winnipeg couple who lost their infant daughter four years ago has found a way to channel their grief into giving and support for the Children's Hospital Foundation.
Kenzi Kopansky was just six months old when she died suddenly of acute appendicitis.
The infant came down with flu-like symptoms and within days her appendix ruptured, her father said.
"She passed away instantly, right in our arms," said Kris Kopansky. "When you go through something like this you get a really, really big heart for other children — especially children in need, sick children."
Six months after her death, the family held a birthday party to celebrate Kenzi's life.
At that point, Kopansky admits he was barely coping and the family didn't want to spend his daughter's birthday alone.
"We closed down the street, we had a petting zoo and the bouncy gym," he said. "We just invited all of our neighbours, friends and family."
Kopansky said the birthday party was charitable from the beginning, with all of the proceeds raised donated to the Children's Hospital Foundation.
Four years later, Keeping Kenzi Close has become an annual event. In total, the family has raised roughly $25,000 for the children's hospital, with all of the proceeds going to fund new equipment.
This year, he and his wife Corinne hope to raise enough money to purchase three new scanning machines for the department, he said.
While the loss of their daughter remains difficult, he credits family, friends and the community for their ongoing support.
"I'm getting there finally," he said. "It's still tough to look at a picture."
The fourth fundraiser in honour of Kenzi takes place Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Great Big Adventure in south Winnipeg.
A social is also being held Thursday night at Upstairs in Osborne Village beginning at 8 p.m.