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Foundation appeals to business

The notion that any one entity can fully fund health care is long gone.

This was the message a group of business owners heard at a “Care to Share” event June 26, hosted by the Shuswap Hospital Foundation at Blue Canoe.

The purpose of the first of such events planned for the future was to share information on how the Shuswap business community can help the foundation raise funds for much-needed equipment.

Fiona Harris, director of development, described how the foundation works continuously in its efforts to enhance patient care at Shuswap health-care facilities.

In a PowerPoint presentation, Harris gave attendees several options for creating fundraising opportunities in their own business before handing the mic over to keynote speaker and chief of medical staff, Dr. Stacey Kirkman.

Kirkman extolled the virtues of the foundation and noted the equipment donations also help to attract doctors.

Originally from Zimbabwe and trained in South Africa, Kirkman practised in Saskatchewan for six years prior to coming to Salmon Arm.

“For me, the hospital was the main reason we decided to settle in Salmon Arm…” he said. “In the past 10 years, I have seen the hospital evolve and improve. There have been major renovations to ER, radiology, pharmacy and the lab.”

Kirkman added lavish praise to the members of the community and their incredible generosity in keeping the hospital equipped with state-of-the-art equipment such as the CT scanner that, he said, played a critical role in modernizing the hospital.

A doctor who enjoys providing maternity care, Kirkman described some of the recently acquired equipment that can provide life-saving care to infants.

“Just recently, the foundation raised $25,000 for a brand new incubator,” he said. “Now I no longer have to sweat trying to maintain a sick baby’s temperature or worry about how much oxygen he or she is getting. It all happens with a touch of a dial.”

With no obstetrician in Salmon Arm, Kirkman says the equipment not only makes it easier for him to provide top-notch care, it makes him feel supported by the community.

“I believe the hospital is the heart of Salmon Arm. A strong hospital is a real indicator of a vibrant community,” he said, noting SLGH is third in B.C. for being a centre of excellence. “A place where people want to live and work and a place where businesses such as yours can really thrive.”

Maureen McTaggart, a doctor who began practising medicine 25 years ago, explained why fundraising organizations like the foundation are necessary.

In her early days of medicine, a heart attack victim, for example, was given oxygen, monitored, had their pain managed and, if the heart stopped, they received electric shock.

“Now you get an immediate examination, clot-busting meds, or you’re sent for an angioplasty or open-heart surgery,” she said. “The technology, training, expertise – imagine the difference in cost. If you extrapolate that to all the other conditions and diagnostic tests, you can see why the days are over when one entity can cover the costs.”

Following the event, a pleased Harris noted that 26 people from local companies attended, with several telling her they wanted to take part in the Care to Share campaign and would discuss fundraising opportunities with their staff.

“We would like to do this once or twice a year, invite businesses to hear a bit more and help the foundation,” she said. “It’s not a one-off piece; it’s an opportunity for corporate donors and people who might want to do something within their businesses.”

For information on the foundation and fundraising ideas, visit  www.shuswaphospitalfoundation.org.

 

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