Hospital foundation celebrates anniversary with family event

NANAIMO – Group helps with equipment costs on central Island

At some point in life, everyone will need the services provided at the local hospital.

That’s why, to celebrate its 35th anniversary, the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation is hosting a day of activities on the soccer field at the former Dufferin Elementary School.

In addition to free hotdogs and other refreshments, activities will include a dunk tank with local celebrities.

“The hospital foundation is based on all aspects of the hospital,” said Mike McKillican, committee chairman and foundation board member. “We’re born in the hospital and we die in the hospital.”

The hospital foundation was established in 1977 to accept donations from people whose loved ones benefitted from health services. In 1991, it began actively fundraising to meet the needs in the rising costs of healthcare, providing funding and equipment to not only Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, but also Dufferin Place Extended Care Facility, Eagle Park Health Care Facility in Qualicum, and Trillium Lodge in Parksville.

“It’s not just Nanaimo hospital we deal with,” McKillican said.

The hospital foundation is not affiliated with the Vancouver Island Health Authority, which manages and provides care for thousands of people each year in the central Island area.

Rather, the foundation consults with doctors, health care professionals and administrators with VIHA to identify a project that the foundation can reasonably achieve, like equipping the new emergency room at NRGH.

“We’ll pick something that’s really needed,” McKillican said. “We do equipment – we just did the ER in conjunction with VIHA.”

McKillican became involved with the foundation while seeking a community-based, local charity to contribute to. The foundation offered that, with 80 per cent of all money raised going directly to projects in the central Island.

“I just liked that the money was going to the right place and not to administration,” he said.

Much of the foundation’s support comes from legacy funding, where a donor or a family will bequeath all or part of an estate to the foundation.

Money is also raised through Code Brew, a coffeeshop at Nanaimo hospital, plus fundraisers like an annual golf tournament and hospital lottery.

Some of the people who’ve donated to the hospital foundation will share their stories at the event on Thursday (Aug. 15). But McKillican stresses that the event is aimed at the entire family – anyone who is affected by health care.

The anniversary celebration runs from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

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