(Robbie Vienneau enjoys his time at a local country fair with his daughter Savannah. Photo: provided)
As many saw on a recent Facebook page, a Stittsville family member, Peter Slater, reached out with a GoFundMe post to alleviate some of the financial pressures off of the Vienneau family. What many may not know – the family are long-time Stittsville residents, the Slater family. Harold and Dorothy Slater (who have passed away) raised their family of three children – Sharon, Debbie and Mark – on Second Avenue (now Lanigan). Sadly, Robbie Vienneau (son of Debbie) passed away on December 5 at the Ruddy-Shenkman Hospice Centre in Kanata. He was only 37.
For Robbie, his cancer battle began with a mole that was diagnosed as an aggressive Nodular Melanoma. It was treated with surgery in 2020 and followed up with chemotherapy and radiation. Robbie went into remission. Life was returning to normal. Perhaps it was time to add another little family member.
In August 2021, Robbie and his wife, Jessica, along with their daughter Savannah moved in with Jessica’s parents on Beverly Street to help them with their daily chores as they both have health challenges. It was at Thanksgiving in 2021, when Robbie was not feeling well and couldn’t attend the family dinner, it became apparent that something was wrong. Going to hospital, Robbie and Jessica learned that the cancer had spread. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour and spreading to his chest, he had also developed pneumonia.
Jessica is expecting their second child in early January and took early maternity leave from her job as a nurse to be with Robbie in hospital and at the hospice. It has been a long road for her. The family had no insurance to deal with a situation such as this, so the initial appeal on GoFundMe went out. Robbie had lost his license to drive which his employment depended on. With only one income coming into the house, they needed some help.
I spoke with Peter about the GoFundMe and we were prepared to share the need, but sadly on the day that Robbie passed away, Peter got in touch to let me know. Such sad news for a brother to have to share.
Peter said, “the support from the community, the kindness of strangers has been overwhelming. Knowing my brother needed help, setting up the GoFundMe was the only thing I felt I could do to help”.
Peter again got in touch yesterday to let me know of the funeral arrangements and to say that the GoFundMe continues as the family wishes to use some of the money to cover funeral expenses and to set-up an education fund for Savannah and her new baby sister expected in January.
The family is holding a funeral service for Robbie on Friday, December 17 at the Kanata Baptist Church, located at 465 Hazeldean Road, at 11:00am. A Celebration of Life for Robbie will be held in late January or early February, 2022.
(Editor’s note: Growing up knowing the Slater family, particularly Debbie, they were involved in many of Stittsville’s activities, especially sports. I send an appeal to donate to the GoFundMe campaign that Peter Slater has set-up to help Robbie’s wife, Jessica, and their two young girls. Please donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/rob-needs-our-help. Thank you.)