If there’s any truth to the expression, ‘what goes around comes around’, then there’s a blessed assurance of support for recently-widowed Vanessa Buchan. In January, she lost her husband Reverend Ken Buchan, former minister of All Saints Anglican Church in Weyburn. 

Son and daughter in law, Mike and Tanya Buchan, received a surprising response on social media recently when Mike shared his parents’ story. But considering some investments in life aren’t monetary, it wasn’t such a surprise so many community members want to give back to honour the legacy of Reverend Buchan.

“Mike's dad was an amazing man,” said Tanya Buchan. “He didn't care what denomination you were. Ken loved everyone. He could find the good in hardened criminals.”

Loving everyone without judgement was no challenge, it was a way of life. In their 60 years of marriage, the Buchans had two biological and seven adopted children, as well as around 200 foster children in their care in all, over the years. They also ran a halfway house in Montreal.

However, life does often bring more difficult challenges, even to the best of them.

“Unfortunately [Ken] got dementia, which is an absolutely devastating disease,” she said. “Before he was diagnosed, he had made some poor financial decisions, he renegotiated some loans and mortgages and stuff, thinking he was doing well, but there was no life insurance or any insurance on their loans, so that has left my mother in law in quite a state.”

A GoFundMe page was created by Ken's ministerial peers to help with home repairs and to ensure Vanessa is cared for. 

“They would get a lot of donations-type projects done around their house from people from the church and they might not be quite up to code, so their house is in a bit of disrepair,” explained Buchan.

“The GofundMe would definitely help with paying expenses,” she said. “Ken was in a nursing home, and that comes with a hefty bill.”

While this is the first year 79-year-old Vanessa hasn’t had a foster baby to care for, she is still raising her youngest, 17, in Yorkton. Therefore the family’s first goal is to get proper repairs completed in her home.

“We want to keep her in her home as long as possible, that is our goal,” Buchan explained. “She has a wonderful support network in Yorkton and then, when the time comes, [we’re] hoping she possibly moves back to Weyburn. She's got us as family here, but they ministered here in Weyburn and she had a group of friend that I'm assuming would welcome her back.”

Caring for 200 foster children over two generations can make it difficult to keep track of where they all are now. With the attention the story has already received on social media, the Buchans are hoping Vanessa will hear from the now-grown foster children.

“Just even to hear back from some of them, I know the children meant a lot to her, to the family, and it would be nice to hear some of the success stories and some of the positive things that have come from a good start at their home,” said Buchan. 

The Buchans fostered in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario.

“She knows she's done well over the years, she knows she's done the right thing,” said Buchan, “But [she’d love] just to hear it from some of the kids just to give her that peace of mind, the heart-warming stories, making connections.”

Consider reaching out if you or someone you know were foster children in the Buchan home in any of the five provinces in the past 55 years. 

If you’re interested in helping with the fundraiser, find the page HERE.

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