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Auxiliary delivers record donation to Nanaimo hospital

Money will go to operating room microscope, ultrasound machines, and much more
Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary members present a record-breaking annual donation cheque for $800,000 to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital staff during the auxiliary’s annual general meeting and luncheon Monday, March 25. From left: Kendal Manuel, administrative assistant; Julie Speers, rehabilitation program manager; Suzie Vinden, operations director, operative and ambulatory areas; Phil Robling, auxiliary first vice-president; Jane Marriott, clinical nurse leader, high acuity unit; Helia Sillem, operations director, NRGH; Dawn Mclean, team lead, porter services; Shelley Gallant, executive director, community and primary care; Deborah Francis, auxiliary president; Marci Ekland, strategy director, NRGH. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary proved to be a particularly generous tipper at its AGM luncheon this week when it presented a cheque for $800,000 to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

The record $800,000 donation is the largest annual donation made by the auxiliary and a significant portion of it, $315,000, will be used to purchase an operating room microscope for performing ophthalmology procedures. The microscope will allow ophthalmologists to more accurately position replacement lenses while performing cataract surgeries. More than 2,000 cataract surgeries are performed in Nanaimo each year.

Another $163,000 will go toward purchasing two ultrasound machines that will be used in medical assessments, to guide samples for biopsies, and tumour treatments. Of the remaining money, $142,000 will support furnishing NRGH’s new high-acuity unit, $105,000 will be split between 23 departments for patient comfort items, and $75,000 will be used for items such as wi-fi services, transport chairs and beds.

Deborah Francis, auxiliary president, in her presentation at the AGM on Monday, March 25, credited the auxiliary’s 228 volunteers – 40 new volunteers joined the auxiliary in 2023, but some have been with the auxiliary for as long as 40 years – with putting in more than 42,000 hours in 2023.

On top of Monday’s $800,000 donation, the auxiliary is also setting aside up to $50,000 for other Island Health related organizations and services, plus another $17,000 will be given to Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation for scholarships and bursaries for students who volunteer with NRGH, the auxiliary or the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation.

Francis said the cumulative donations to the hospital over nine years now total $4.8 million.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary makes record $600,000 donation to NRGH

Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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