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Board of Directors

The BC Bereavement Helpline Board of Directors is composed of community volunteers who come from a wide cross-section of professional backgrounds. They are rich in experience and have an active interest in supporting the BC Bereavement Helpline to realize its vision that bereavement support is an essential serviceTM. Board appointments are for a two-year terms and Directors can serve up to three terms.

Our Board of Directors is responsible for strategic planning and overseeing the organization’s financial management while actively fundraising and supporting the sustainability and growth of our services., We are always looking for new Board members to join our dynamic team. If you are interested in joining our Board of Directors, please contact us at 604-738-9950, or email us at contact@bcbh.ca.


Vice President, Marlyn Ferguson has been the Arborcare Coordinator at Valley View Funeral Home, Surrey B.C. for over fourteen years, supporting people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Marlyn was instrumental in developing a support group for Suicide Loss and has facilitated groups for the past nine years. Following the death of her 27-year-old son Graeme in 2005 to murder, she quickly realized that survivors of crime have unique needs that may not be met by friends, family, or existing social services. She “Took Action” and started the first Homicide Support Group in B.C. at Valley View Funeral Home. She facilitates two – eight-week groups per year and follows up with bi-monthly Pot Luck Dinners for members and their families. Marlyn is also a member of the Advisory Committee with BC Victims of Homicide and has been training facilitators throughout the province.

Treasurer, Maja Futrell-Frühling has been involved in various activities within the community including supporting non-profits in the producing of theatre performances, working in child development and with the affects of prenatal trauma. She has continued on to volunteer with youth and the bereaved, recently she finished her second diploma program, this one in therapeutic counselling. She is a teacher’s assistant with Clearmind International and continues to study the impact of loss and trauma on the family system as a whole and within the community.

Director, Dr. Alana Abramson is currently on the faculty in the Department of Criminology for Kwantlen Polytechnic University.  She bridges the community with education, providing opportunities for her students to be in the criminal justice field and learn from those who have directly experienced it.  Alana uses experiential and transformative learning techniques, storytelling and guest speakers to engage students.  She is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the the BC Bereavement Helpline. Alana is passionate about enhancing access to and education about victim-sensitive restorative justice practices.  She has been advocate, trainer, and researcher with respect to restorative justice since 2000.  Alana currently resides in Kamloops and loves vegan food, yoga, hiking and being in nature, her two cats, and travelling with her partner.

Director, Sue Baker has a Bachelor of Social Work and has been working in the field of crisis intervention, trauma and traumatic loss for over 25 years. She is a Certified Trauma Services Specialist with the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists (ATSS), and has had extensive training and experience in Critical Incident Stress Management. Sue is the Coordinator of the Vancouver Police Department, Victim Services Unit and works with individuals, families and witnesses who have been impacted by crime and other traumatic incidents. She is a facilitator of BC Victims of Homicide and BCBH suicide loss support groups.

Director, Jim Cessford is the former Chief of Police with the Delta Police Department. He previously served in the Edmonton Police Service and has been a police officer for 47 years. He is a member of the Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR) and Delta Opposes Violence Everywhere (DOVE). He is a coach and mentor for many sporting teams and for high school students who are graduating and moving on to the next phase of their lives. Jim is a member of the Order of Merit for Policing (MOM). In 2009, he was named Delta's Citizen of the Year in recognition of his professional achievements and community service contributions. He was a former member of the homicide and major crimes investigation team with the Edmonton Police Service. He has a wealth of experience in dealing with homicide investigations and in working with Police Victim Services and next of kin notifications and support. 

Director, Marsha Drake is semi-retired after working for nearly 30 years in various community service positions beginning with child care and including anti-poverty advocacy and counselling.  She has also been an English Language instructor and a writer of personal and organizational histories.  For 13 years prior to retirement Marsha worked in Provincial Corrections with men and women experiencing mental health and addiction challenges. Presently, with Marlyn Ferguson at Valley View Funeral Home, she co-facilitates homicide support groups.  She has also travelled, driven taxi, cooked in Yukon gold camps and trawled for salmon, all of which contributed to her world view and sense of connection with a broad range of people.