By CHRIS BUSH
March 20, 2017 · Updated 2:06 PM
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Marci Ekland, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital site director, receives a cheque for nearly $473,908 from Phil Robling, Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary president, at the auxiliary's annual general meeting luncheon, hosted at Beban Park Monday. The money, raised by the hospital auxiliary’s thrift store sales and other functions is the largest donation ever made by the auxiliary. / CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo Region General Hospital left a lunch date almost half a million dollars richer Monday when the Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary presented its biggest-ever annual donation.

A cheque, totalling $473,908, was handed over at the Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary's annual general meeting luncheon, hosted at Beban Park. The amount is about $100,000 more than the annual donation last year and was raised from Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store and hospital gift shop sales plus, lottery proceeds and other events throughout the year.

The auxiliary's 250 volunteers contributed 38,000 volunteer hours to raise the money.

"We had record revenues in our thrift store and our gift shop," said Phil Robling, Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary president. "The thrift store business is booming. In the last two years it's gone up 25 per cent. If I knew what the answer was I'd bottle it up and sell it."

The money will be spent for diagnostic equipment and supplies and patient care and comfort items.

"I think that's the piece that's really valuable about the auxiliary is that all of the dollars that they have raised is through volunteer hours," said Marci Ekland, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital site director. "They had 38,000 volunteer hours to actually support this contribution, which I think is really important for people to understand."

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