James MacIntyre

James MacIntyre

Hospital foundation celebrates 35th year

NANAIMO – Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation wraps up 35 years and a fundraising campaign at anniversary celebration.

Field work took on a new context when the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation hosted its 35th anniversary celebration at Dufferin Elementary School play field Thursday.

The event ran from 1 to 4 p.m. when board members, supporters and well wishers stopped by to eat one of the 200 hotdogs served throughout the afternoon event and toss a few softballs to see if they could drop a few volunteers in a dunk tank, including Lynda Avis, former president of the Nanaimo Auxiliary to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, who took her turn in the tank wearing a circa 1900 bathing suit.

One of the highlights of the afternoon event was the announcement the hospital auxiliary had completed its campaign to raise $4 million to help purchase equipment for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s emergency ward.

The announcement marked the end of a four-year fundraising project, which coincided with ongoing efforts to raise cash to purchase other equipment throughout the hospital.

“So that was really big news and I had a tear in my eye because that was a lot of work and a lot of support from the community to make that a possibility,”  said Feron Walker, foundation’s communications director.

The foundation will announce a new fundraising program at its 2013 annual general meeting in September, but Walker is not prepared to reveal details about that project until it is officially approved.

Special guest speakers included foundation president Maeve O’Byrne and Brenda Uhrynuk, executive director, medicine, emergency, renal services and NRGH site administrator.

“(Uhrnyuk) talked about the partnership with NRGH and also with Lifeline,” Walker said.

Lifeline was started by the Nanaimo Auxiliary to NRGH in the 1990s and was later taken over by the hospital foundation.

The foundation also raises cash through the Code Brew coffee kiosk in the NRGH lobby and through proceeds from fees generated by two ATM cash machines in the hospital.

“Not a lot of non-profits have two revenue generating businesses,” Walker said.

Attendance is estimated at more than 150 people throughout the afternoon.