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Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary makes record $600,000 donation to NRGH

Annual donation supports patient care and comfort
The Nanaimo Regional General Hospital received a $600,000 donation from the Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary for patient care and comfort at the auxiliary’s annual general meeting on March 27. (Bailey Seymour/News Bulletin)

The Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary presented the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital with a record donation this year.

The $600,000 donation, presented at the hospital auxiliary’s annual general meeting on March 27, will be used to purchase essential equipment for patient care and comfort, as well as support for the individual hospital departments.

“It’s a wonderful feeling of satisfaction. We know we’re helping the community and all of our volunteers know that too.” said Phil Robling, auxiliary president.

The NRGH plans on using $80,000 of the money to be split between 23 hospital departments and $344,000 will be used for 22 different patient comfort items from wi-fi services to new transport chairs and beds.

A large piece of the donation, $174,500, will be used for a new “state-of-the-art” ultrasound machine as described by Dr. Gbenga Oluyede, a Nanaimo-based obstetrician. Although the hospital has an ultrasound department, it doesn’t have maternal-fetal medicine services which can provide care to women experiencing high-risk or complicated pregnancies.

“Historically the service was was only available in Victoria, which required families to drive long distances and sometimes relocate to get care,” wrote Victoria-based obstetrician Dr. Kim Macdonald in a letter read by Oluyede at the meeting. “Women, children and families are stronger when pregnancy care happens close to home.”

READ MORE: High-acuity unit now being built at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital

The donation was made possible by the 220 volunteers who work in the hospital auxiliary gift shop, thrift store, and hold multiple fundraisers held throughout the year. The volunteer hours totalled 36,000 in 2022.

This is the biggest donation the hospital has received to date from the auxiliary. Marci Ekland, director of clinical services at NRGH, said the donations and support will continue to grow, even after COVID-19.

“People are realizing the value of health care and how important it is, as we’ve seen with the 47 new [auxiliary] volunteers this year,” she said. “The commitment to community and health care, having the community lean in, not just in fundraising but in patient care as well, we see the trend and we think it will continue growing.”

The auxiliary is also donating up to $50,000 for other Island Health organizations to support clinics and hospitals for communities around Nanaimo. Another $17,000 will be awarded for scholarships and bursaries to students who volunteer with NRGH or the auxiliary foundation.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo hospital could use a check-up as it reaches 60th anniversary

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Bailey Seymour

About the Author: Bailey Seymour

After graduating from SAIT and stint with the Calgary Herald, I ended up at the Nanaimo News Bulletin/Ladysmith Chronicle in March 2023
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