Bereaved Families of Ontario – Durham Region

"Bereaved, helping the bereaved learn to live with grief"

Our Team

The role of the Bereaved Families of Ontario-Durham Board of Directors is to ensure that this organization is responsibly managed and that its goals are met effectively and efficiently.  These dedicated volunteer Board members are responsible for decision making, including strategic planning, finances, organizational operations, community relations and human resources.  They also ensure that the programs and services reflect the mission and goals of the organization.

This Board is a managing Board who, together with the Executive Director, and volunteers, assists in the operation of BFO-Durham. Board members are not required to be bereaved parents; previous experience is an asset.

The Board of Directors meets once a month, and when the need arises for special called Board meetings.  Some of our Board Members have served on the Board for an extended period of time showing their dedication and belief in BFO-Durham.


Gary Goswell

Board Chair

Chris Garvey

Vice Chair

Marian Rehr

Board Member / Treasurer

Sharon Sears

Board Member

Wayne Wanamaker

Board Member

Kirsty Bradshaw (Sinclair)

Board Member

Bev Campbell

Margaret Fortune

Honorary Board Member

Jane Carter

Executive Director

Gary came to BFO-Toronto for support after the loss of his daughter Kelly in June 1992.  After attending a mixed group, he was invited to take facilitator training which he completed in the fall of 1993.  Gary facilitated groups, did one-on-one interviews and spoke at family support nights for BFO-Toronto.  He was invited to join their Parental Advisory Committee to the Board of Directors.  By this time Gary had moved to Pickering and began volunteering for BFO-Durham, facilitating several groups and one-on-one interviews.  After becoming a member of BFO-Durham’s first Board of Directors, it became too time consuming to volunteer for both affiliates.

Gary continues on the BFO-Durham Board as its Chair, conducts facilitator training and on occasion is still an active facilitator.  Gary has a certificate in Bereavement Education from the Canadian Centre for Bereavement Studies and has shared that knowledge presenting at conferences, other community organisation events and of course family support nights. Gary spent a year as Coordinator of BFO-Durham before paid staff could be hired and was part of the committee that established the children and youth support programs.  Gary was the Recipient of the Susan E. Hendrick’s Volunteer of Distinction Award in 2002.

Chris has been a sales rep for over 30 years, the last 20 in optical sales.  He has been married to his wife Suzanne for 26 years.  He is the proud father of two children.  Tragically his eldest child Blake passed away in 2013.  In July of 2013, Chris found support through BFO – Durham.  In 2014,  he became a trained facilitator and started facilitating one-on-ones and drop-in support nights.  He also resurrected and facilitated the Fathers' support group that had been absent for many years.  In 2016, he was recognized as Volunteer Of The Year.

Chris has also represented BFO-Durham at many speaking functions and has been on many fundraising committees.  In 2016, Chris along with his wife Suzanne started the Bike, Blade and Board for Blake fundraiser to honour Blake and to raise funds for BFO-Durham and Durham Mental Health Services.  Chris has been serving as a director on the BFO-Durham Board since 2015

BFO Durham was founded in 1993 and Marian was one of four founding mothers.  She has been a Board member and Treasurer since.  Marian facilitated many groups in the first 8 years.  At present, she is more involved in the background of BFO Durham. 

She attends Board meetings and looks after the financial affairs such as the accounting and reporting to Revenue Canada.  She looked after the Incorporation and obtaining of the Registered Charity status.  Marian has recently retired from TD/Canada Trust and is working in the office part-time.

Sharon became a member of Durham B.F.O shortly after the loss of her son Andrew in 1994 and her infant daughter Rebecca in 1995. Sharon is married with 3 daughters and 6 beautiful grandchildren. She is a trained facilitator and has facilitated many drop-in support nights and infant loss closed groups, as well as provided one-on-one support to bereaved parents.

She is on the Angel Tree Committee, the Walk To Remember Committee and the Beach Dance Committee. She is also the former Executive Director, a job that she loved dearly.  She stepped down from her position in 2016 to provide daycare for her grandchildren. She is so grateful for the support B.F.O has given her and continues to give her and her family.

Wayne came to BFO-Durham in the Spring of 2013 after the sudden loss of his son David in September, 2012.  It was through attending drop-ins that he found the support and friendship that he needed.  After participating in a mixed group session, Wayne attended the facilitators’ training program.  He has facilitated a number of drop-ins and was instrumental in starting our very successful dads’ group sessions.

Wayne was honoured with the Volunteer of the Year award in 2018.  In the summer of 2018, he joined the Board of Directors and is looking forward to giving back to the group which has given him so much.Wayne lives in Aurora and works as a contract sales representative for Coast Appliances. He has a daughter Kathy, son Jason and 3 grandchildren who are his pride and joy.

Kirsty came to BFO-Durham in January 2015 after losing her eldest son, Kyle, in November 2014.She attended drop-ins for a year then took part in a closed mums 12 week group in the spring of 2016.  She has made many bonds as well as friendships and finds great solace in knowing other bereaved parents who understand what she is going through.

She took the facilitator training in Jan 2017 as she knew she wanted to give back and want to help other bereaved parents. She has facilitated drop-ins, done one on ones and facilitated closed mums groups.

This past spring shw was fortunate enough to be part of our first children’s program, which was for children from the ages 6-12 who have lost a sibling.  She worked with the 6-8 year olds. She is also part of the children’s program this fall, this time working with the 9-12 year olds.She became a board member in June 2019 and is also on the Angel tree committee, Beach Bash committee and the Santa Brunch committee.

She has 2 other sons and a daughter as well as 2 grandsons who are her pride and joy and couldn’t be more proud of them all.

Bev came to BFO-Durham following the sudden loss of her son Michael on July 3, 2009. Bev lives in Oshawa with her only remaining daughter Marnie. She has three grandchildren which are her pride and joy.Bev attended many drop-ins and completed a 12-week moms’ program where she made life-long friendships. Bev completed her facilitator training in 2013 and has since facilitated numerous moms groups. 

Bev gives of her time so generously and is always ready to lend a hand.  She is active member on most committees, The Walk To Remember, the Beach Dance and the Angel Tree committee.  She also volunteers in the office weekly.Bev sadly lost her dear husband Larry in 2016 but returned to her volunteering shortly after.Bev has now joined the Board of Directors at BFO-Durham.

Maggie has owned and operated a business as a Personal Organizer since 2000.  Her daughter Annette Elizabeth passed away as a result of an auto accident in 1989 at the age of 20.  Maggie attended a Couples’ Group through BFO-Toronto in 1990.  She became a bereavement facilitator in the same year and facilitated at BFO-Toronto until her move to BFO-Durham in 2007 where she has been an active volunteer as a facilitator for drop-ins.   

Margaret can always be relied on to assist in any fundraising events and has served as a Board member since 2007.  Margaret is the recipient of the 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award.

Jane joined the Board in January 2011 so that she could continue to "give back" to BFO-Durham, as without their continuous support and guidance, she would not be where she is today. She became a member of BFO-D in 2001 following the death of her 13 year old daughter Julie. Fifteen years prior to Julie's death she lost her son Paul, who was full term, at birth. Jane attended a Mothers' group early in 2001. She has taken facilitator training and now facilitates groups both in infant loss and older children.

She also manages drop-ins for both age groups. She was the Chairperson of the Angel Tree Committee for many years and has helped organize several BFO-D dances. She was presented with both the Volunteer of the Year Award and the Susan E. Hendricks Volunteer of Distinction Award. Married and living in Ajax, she has two remaining children Michael, 32 and Jennifer, 29 and was an ophthalmic assistant for 36 years. In 2016, Jane stepped down from the Board to take on the position of Executive Director at Bereaved Families of Ontario – Durham Region.