When Janice Perrino arrived in Nanaimo for the very first time nearly a month ago, she was taken back by the city’s beautiful surroundings.
Perrino is the newly appointed chief executive officer for the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation. She took over from long-time president, Maeve O’Byrne, who stepped down earlier this year.
“I am really thrilled to be here,” Perrino said.
Perrino comes to Nanaimo with a wealth of experience, having spent the last 11 years as the executive director of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation, which supports the Penticton Regional Hospital.
As executive director, Perrino quarterbacked a number of successful fundraising campaigns to support various Penticton hospital projects, including a new CT scanner and mobile MRI van.
She said she took the job in Nanaimo because she was looking for new challenges, adding that she believes the hospital foundation has a bright future.
“I think this foundation could raise more money,” Perrino said. “When you look at what [Nanaimo Regional General Hospital] has, they have fantastic machines, but they certainly need more.”
Perrino, who was also the mayor for the District of Summerland from 2008-14, successfully led a fundraising campaign for the construction of a brand new patient care tower at the Penticton hospital.
“From our office we sent out about 10,000 letters to the premier’s office,” she said. “We had seen major expansions in Kelowna and in Vernon and we were left behind in Penticton and the hospital was close to 65 years old. Politically we couldn’t make a move, but when doctors speak out … when they stood up … that’s when the province really took notice.”
Perrino’s goals include moving the foundation forward in a positive direction and increased community outreach. She also would like to see the foundation’s office relocated to a site within the hospital.
“We are working right now to get all our equipment commitments purchased. The hospital gave us a whole list of equipment to buy and now we got to raise the money,” she said. “One of our biggest problems is we are not in the hospital and we need to be there because people don’t know us.”
Perrino said there will be fundraising campaigns kicking off in the coming weeks, as the foundation aims to secure money for the hospital’s recent and future purchases such as the CT scanner.
“We have to raise quite a bit of money for the fall and Christmas season so we can get those things paid for,” she said.