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Festival digs deep for health care

Maeve O’Byrne

Health care in the central Island area received a significant boost thanks to the hard work of the Dragon Boat Festival Society.

The society presented a $65,000 cheque to the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation – proceeds from the 2010 Save-On-Foods Dragon Boat Festival.

Since 2003, the society has worked arduously to provide breast cancer diagnostic equipment to women on central Vancouver Island. Over the past eight years, the festival has helped to raise more than $430,000 for the purchase of life-saving equipment at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital; including the $265,000 stereotactic breast biopsy unit which enables radiologists to perform non-invasive surgery to collect samples with limited discomfort and fewer complications.

With the proceeds from the 2010 festival, the society has played a part in the purchase of a digital mammography reader, a $250,000 state-of-the-art machine that enhances the accuracy of diagnoses, scans can be easily shared with professionals in other cities, and increases image storage capacity. Both machines are already at work helping women thanks to the Dragon Boat Festival Society.

“It is with thanks to the incredible work of the society, its volunteers, sponsors, and the enthusiastic participation of paddlers that NRGH has state-of-the-art equipment available to women dealing with the threat of breast cancer,” said Maeve O’Byrne, foundation president. “The foundation continues to be inspired by the enthusiasm for the cause and the economic boon Nanaimo enjoys thanks to this festival. This is a remarkable event hosted by dedicated individuals”.

To learn more about the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation and its supporters, please visit or call 250-755-7690.

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