Obituary of Vanessa Parker
Parker, Vanessa Dawn -
September 4, 1971 - June 1, 2022
The death of Vanessa Parker of Saint John occurred on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, at the age of 50. Born in Fredericton, NB, she lived the greater part of her life in Saint John. She was the beloved daughter of Kitty Nora Büschlepp and the beloved granddaughter of the late Liselotte Hildegard Marie Driscoll.
Vanessa was born with an intellectual and physical disability as well as health concerns. Early in life, the Chief of Pediatrics at the Regional Hospital in Saint John, Dr. Glen MacDonald, advocated for her to be seen in the IWK children's hospital in Halifax, N.S. She literally spent the years 1985 - 1991 at the IWK Hospital, where she underwent 13 major operations in a 5-year period to save her life. The IWK gave Vanessa the last 37 years of her life. The extraordinary doctors, exceptional nurses, and this miraculous hospital gave her a second chance at life. In 1991, her admissions to the IWK Hospital came to an end as she was no longer considered a child. That blessed hospital gave her a gift of life, how does one ever repay that?
Since 1986, Vanessa has been a member of the Founder’s Club at the IWK, through fund raising efforts by rolling pennies and picking up cans and bottles for redemption, with all the proceeds going to the IWK. Every year at telethon time, Vanessa, her mother and grandmother were glued to their television screen to watch the entire telethon.
A special thank you to the IWK's Dr. Michael Giacomantonio, surgeon, Myrna Sutherland head nurse and staff, Sylvia Wedderburn, nursing supervisor, 5 South Child Life Department, Mary Catharine McDonnell, social worker, and Kay Bradbrook, Pastoral Care, who was there for every admission and surgery. Vanessa and her mother would not have made it without pastoral care. They were instrumental in her recovery and in her mother's.
Together with her mother, Vanessa provided sponsorship to two girls through World Vision, Canada, in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. The first girl Berhanesh Alito, Vanessa sponsored from age 10 to age 20, who was then taken off the sponsorship program by World Vision because of an age limit. The second girl Tsehaynesh Alito, her sister, Vanessa sponsored for two years until World Vision reported that the family had moved out of the sponsorship area.
Together with her mother, Vanessa did a lot of earth day work in their community. She was glad to have made her own personal contribution to the earth by the work done to green spaces. Vanessa and her mother did a lot of exploring of the natural world around them. They enjoyed every moment together. They took long nature walks, their favourite being Tucker Park, UNB grounds, Indiantown, and Rockwood Park. Vanessa and her mother were inseparable. They went everywhere together. Vanessa was well connected to the community she lived in.
Vanessa is survived by a community of caring people. A special thank you is extended to Dr. David Jory from Community Living who advocated on her behalf for close to 40 years.
Vanessa was predeceased by her grandmother, who would give anything in the world to still be here with her, they shared a special bond.
Resting at Brenan's Funeral Home, 111 Paradise Row, Saint John, NB (634-7424). At her mother's request, there will be no visitation at the funeral home and no formal funeral service. Private family interment to take place at Holy Cross Cemetery, next to her grandmother. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax, N.S, that blessed hospital who gave her a second chance at life, or a charity of the donor's choice. Online condolences can be placed at www.BrenansFH.com.