Donation improves hospital care

The fight against breast cancer on central Vancouver Island took a big step forward with a significant donation.

Maeve O’Byrne

Maeve O’Byrne

The fight against breast cancer on central Vancouver Island took a big step forward with a significant donation to the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation.

Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival Society and Save-On-Foods presented $62,000 to the foundation toward the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

The donation is a culmination of fundraising by dragonboat teams as well as funds raised during the July Save-On-Foods Dragon Boat Festival.

Proceeds of the event have funded breast cancer detection and treatment equipment for women facing health crises on the Island.

The 2011 festival proceeds will help purchase a skin mesher for skin grafting, two laparoscopes for non-invasive tissue sample collection and a wireless sentinel probe for tumour detection in specific lymph nodes.

In the past nine years, the festival has raised more than $1.5 million for equipment including a stereotactic breast biopsy unit which enables radiologists to perform non-invasive surgery to collect samples with limited discomfort and fewer complications. Results can be delivered in a timely manner, limiting the stress to patients.

Funds also helped purchase a digital mammography reader; a $250,000 machine that enhances the accuracy of diagnoses.

Without the donation, the equipment would not be available to the hospital.

Tim Robertson, manager of Save-On-Foods at Country Club Centre, said the event connects the community and they are pleased the money raised for charity directly helps people on central Vancouver Island.

“This fundraiser continues to grow and is a healthy, fun, competitive event,” he said.

The festival not only provides health-care financing, but is also an economic boon for Nanaimo with thousands of people flooding the downtown core to participate and enjoy the event.

Maeve O’Byrne, president of the hospital foundation said Save-on-Foods and the society’s volunteer board have done an amazing job at growing the event each year.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our city, but also to have meaningful dialogue about breast cancer,” she said. “I would also like to pay tribute to the many teams and individuals who take fundraising for a good cause to heart.”