CHERNICHEN, Valerie Ann
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January 15, 1959 - April 16, 2013
On April 16, 2013, after a lengthy battle with cancer, Valerie Ann Chernichen left this world to embark upon her greatest adventure. Joining Val on her journey is her lost love, Sir Prize. You will be able to find them wherever the sky is blue, the sun shines, and the warm water laps gently on the soft sand of the beach.
Val was born in Edmonton on January 15, 1959 and completed high school at St. Joseph's, where she had transferred to take advantage of the shop classes that it offered. At 16, Val discovered the world of motorcycles and for the next ten years became totally engrossed in and enthralled with the biking life. After relentlessly pestering the Greene family, who owned Alberta Cycle, they finally gave in and hired Val to work in their parts department. She stayed with Alberta Cycle for close to ten years, leaving only when the motorcycle market slowed down.
From the world of motorcycles Val made what, to most, may have appeared to be a drastic change in the direction of her life by studying nursing at the Royal Alexandra Hospital Nursing School and embarking upon what was to become her professional calling: a career as a registered nurse. Ever courageous and determined, Val threw herself into her new life with all of the passion and enthusiasm that were such trademarks of her character.
Val enjoyed her career as a nurse immensely, working in hospitals around Edmonton, as well as putting in a short stint in a hospital in Houston. With her selfless heart and generous spirit, it was nursing that allowed Val to finally be able to work in a field that would feed her passion for medicine and let her help her fellow humans as she had always yearned to do. Val worked tirelessly; putting in countless overtime hours and making whatever effort was necessary to ensure the well-being of her patients.
In spite of her deteriorating physical health, Val continued to work at the Misericordia, leaving only when surgery for her kidney cancer and her severely worsening health finally forced her to give up work completely and sent her home to become a full-time- mom to Spa, Adidi, La Nina and Sylvester (who recently left this earth to join his good friend Sir).
Once again, Val's positive attitude and strength of character came to the fore and her courageous determination stood her well as, with all of her might, she dug in and fought the cancer that would ultimately defeat her. Her ingrained persistence and courage kept her going long after the remedies offered by medical science had been exhausted and allowed her to beat both the odds and her prognoses far beyond what would normally be expected.
Even as her physical body weakened, allowing her to do less and less; Val kept up her positive attitude and enthusiasm for life, continuously pushing the boundaries of what her body would let her do. A life long gardener, (who was well known for growing the best tomatoes in Alberta) Val continued to indulge in this passion as long as she possibly could and then tried to pass on her storied green-thumb skills to friends (with, unfortunately, little success.). Val even kept her lifelong love of adventure and travel alive, making one last solo trip down the Pacific Coast to San Diego only two short years ago.
While all those who knew and loved Val are, undoubtedly, profoundly sad at the passing of such a wonderful soul at such a young age with so much yet to contribute to the world; Val would want us to take this opportunity not to mourn her passing but to celebrate her life and those things that were important to her. Val may no longer be with us in body, but her spirit and the legacy she left shall live on.
As for Val - she is somewhere up there looking down at us and smiling – while puttering around her beautiful sun-drenched garden overlooking the ocean – tending her plants and spending time with her beloved Sir.
Victor Hugo wrote in Les Miserables:
"There is one spectacle grander than the sea - that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky - that is the human soul."
Val's soul is, was, and always will be: a truly grand spectacle.
Val was predeceased by her grandparents and her parents, George and Nadine as well as numerous members of her much-loved feline family. She is survived by siblings Doug (Victoria), Jim, Dennis (Lena) and Cindy (Jerry), as well as countless friends and relatives. She will be especially missed by her three perfect kitties, Spa, Adidi and La Nina and her closest friend and spiritual sister, Carol.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Val's honour to the Humane Society of Edmonton.
Serenity Funeral Service - South Edmonton
Edmonton, AB T6E 6E2
Published in The Edmonton Journal from Apr. 19 to Apr. 20, 2013