Kelowna man hopes to get mother's body home to Jamaica

A Kelowna man has turned to crowdfunding in an effort to get the body of his recently deceased mother back home to Jamaica.

Chanan Williams had flown his mother all the way to Kelowna to see him graduate from Okanagan College this past June, and he was able to spend several weeks with her.

Then in late July, tragedy struck.

“She was getting ready to go home – I was booking her to fly out for the 14th of August to go back to Jamaica, and her heart stopped,” says Williams. “We got her to the hospital and she passed.”

Chanan says his mother’s final wish was to be buried at her family plot in Westmoreland, Jamaica, where past members of the family have been buried. To do that, however, the total cost of transporting her body (which includes getting several permits from the Jamaican Consulate) amounts to approximately $20,000.

When Williams first booked his mother’s travel plans to Kelowna using his own credit card, he thought that the insurance that came with it would cover these costs, until he found out that this would only apply to either himself or his spouse.

While cremation would be a cheaper option, Williams says his mother was against the idea, preferring instead to be buried.

“It’s such a hard decision for me, because I feel like I’m not honoring her last request, but I have to make a decision,” says Williams. “It’s also a time sensitive issue, because it was recommended that I don’t try to keep her for more than 30 days, because the quality of the body is going to start deteriorating.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise the $20,000, with just over $3,300 being raised as of this writing.