Hospital auxiliary supports emergency expansion

Gently worn clothes, cookies baked with care and dedicated volunteers go a long way toward buying state-of-the-art equipment for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Gently worn clothes, cookies baked with care and dedicated volunteers go a long way toward buying state-of-the-art equipment for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

The Nanaimo Auxiliary to the hospital presented the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation with a $230,000 cheque at its annual general meeting Monday.

“This is the biggest gift we’ve received from one group for the emergency department,” said Maeve O’Byrne, foundation president. “They’re an important partner not only in the raising of funds, but also in raising awareness of the needs of the hospital.”

The money will go toward the foundation’s campaign to raise $4 million to buy equipment for the new emergency and psychiatric services departments, scheduled for completion next year.

“The hours some of these women put in is unreal,” said Dianne Ross, publicity chairwoman for the auxiliary. “Our thrift store brings in quite a lot of money each year. We’re pretty proud of ourselves.”

 

The auxiliary raises money by hosting bake and craft sales, operating the gift shop in NRGH and a thrift store in Northridge Shopping Centre. All are run solely by volunteers.

The $230,000 is the same amount the auxiliary donated to the hospital foundation last year for the emergency and renal departments, said Ross, but not the only money the organization is giving away this year.

The auxiliary also gives $8,500 each to 12 different departments in the hospital, two high school students receive $2,000 bursaries to help with their post-secondary education and the auxiliary’s $55,000 gaming grant is distributed around the hospital to buy equipment, she said.

On top of fundraising activities, auxiliary volunteers also participate in hospital volunteer programs, such as greeting people at the entrance to the hospital/emergency department, overseeing the student volunteer program and handing out bags with basic hygiene items to emergency patients, said Ross.

The group is looking for more volunteers, she added, because while the organization has more than 200, the majority are 70-plus years old.

“A lot of us are getting older and a little bit burned out,” said Ross.

For more information about the Nanaimo Auxiliary to NRGH, please go to www.nrghauxiliary.ca.