A local child is being remembered through a recently unveiled memorial at East End Children’s Centre.
At three-and-a-half years old, Stella Bruner-Methven died in October of a brain tumour. Throughout her short life, she spent lots of time at East End Children’s Centre, even celebrating her first birthday there.
A memorial was created in Stella’s honour at the centre’s Kimbourne location, featuring a sofa donated by her family and friends.
The memorial, Stella’s Snuggling Corner, was unveiled earlier this month. During the celebration, guests sang Stella’s favourite songs before having cupcakes, Stella’s favourite treat.
At Stella’s Snuggling Corner, a bright blue sofa sits under a plaque honouring Stella and her life. The sofa holds significance for Stella and her family, explained Cathy Wright, manager of the centre.
“It was always their family’s sofa that they kind of retreated to during Stella’s illness, on days that she was very, very sick, or days that they weren’t able to go out,” she said.
“They were great at maintaining some great routines around getting out and getting involved, even while she was sick ... but often they were at home, and it was always on their sofa that they kind of gathered together, and played, and had tea parties, and read books, and napped and snuggled.”
A photo of Stella also adorns the corner, as well as stars.
“We also hung some stars in the area, because Stella means star,” Wright said, adding stars are being used to remember Stella in another way as well.
“They’ve got these Stella Stars,” she explained. “It’s got a ribbon on it, and the idea behind the Stella Stars, it says Stella on one side, and on the other side it says www.stellastars.ca. The idea is that you can take your Stella Star and go, and leave it somewhere in the world ... and someone will pick it up and hopefully go to the website.”
The website shows a map of the world, marked with stars. By clicking on the stars, people can see photos and stories of Stella Stars left on all of Earth’s continents, except Antarctica – the only place Stella’s memory has yet to travel.
Stella’s Snuggling Corner also has a bean bag chair in it, that was donated to the centre by another community member.
“It was just really an area where we encouraged reading before, so we’re still encouraging reading, but we want to make it kind of extra comfortable for adults and children to sit and snuggle and read,” Wright said.
“It’s really just to keep Stella’s memory alive, and to build awareness around her. And I think it brings a lot of comfort to her family, and to all the people who are missing her right now. Stella and her whole family made a huge impact on us, because we were just so amazed at how strong they were for one, and what a supportive family,” she added.
“There are many examples on the website of how this family, the grandparents, aunts and uncles, really held each other up, and really I think motivated Stella to live well beyond what her doctors had predicted.”
To learn more about Stella and her family, visit www.stellabrunermethven.com.
For more information about East End Children’s Centre, visit www.eastendchildrenscentre.org.