The Bulkley Valley Health Care & Hospital Foundation’s first direct funding campaign has leaped off the line.
The foundation is raising $80,000 to go towards a new diagnostic service for the area. Room is now being made at the Bulkley Valley District Hospital for cardiac stress testing equipment that the campaign aims to provide in memory of Jim Britton.
Brother Thomas Britton pledged to match each dollar raised for the new equipment, meaning half the funds were accounted for. Another $10,000 was donated even before the announcement at the foundation’s third annual Fundraising Gala at Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers Saturday night.
After a successful night of auctions that had people bidding on, among other things, meet the Canucks in their dressing room after watching two games, and a 10-day trip to Hawaii, foundation chairperson Ted Bobb was able to announce another $10,000 from the money raised Saturday would go into the campaign for cardiac stress testing equipment.
That meant before those at the gala even hit the dance floor, the foundation only needed $20,000 from the public to pay for the equipment. A large sign with a thermometer outside the hospital is keeping track of how close the foundation is to its goal of raising the funds by Dec. 1.
Northern Health health service administrator Cormac Hikisch said the idea for cardiac stress testing equipment came from medical staff.
“We were fortunate enough in the last three years to bring in a new physician who’s actually doing family practice in Houston, and he has the credentials and ability to do stress testing,” said Hikisch.
“Finally we have all the pieces we need; now all we need is some community support.”
Northern Health committed $60,000 in capital funding for the renovation that is making room for the equipment, which Hikisch said includes a high performance treadmill with diagnostic pieces attached, computer equipment that goes with the diagnostics, and a cardiac defibrillator.
Hikisch hopes to see everything ready for early next year. He added the renovated space is to be used for more than stress testing.
“The stress testing as an outpatient procedure is only going to be planned for two or three days a month, just given the volume… The rest of the time that room is going to be used for other outpatient procedures we can do in there,” explained Hikisch.
The crowd laughed at the anecdotes and jokes thrown their way by keynote speaker Chris Johnson aka Dr. Laugh, who brought with him his philosophy that having a sense of humour is, “the ability to see the non-serious in a situation.”
Then they threw back cash during the live auction. Once the campaign was announced, people were ponying up even more.
“The live auction items tonight just blew me away,” said Bobb shortly after announcing the campaign Saturday night.
“I think that sort of speaks to our cause: what we’re about.”
The move to the weekend for the third gala also seemed to help bring out the fun in the fundraiser.
“It’s a kind of night where you see young guys and ladies out, nicely dressed, and I think people enjoy that,” said Bobb.
Bobb helped form the foundation in 2012. He said he has been amazed at its growth and success, and is happy to see the first direct funding campaign get off to such a running start.
“It touches a lot of people’s lives. And if we can increase the availability of those smaller diagnostic tasks, it means people don’t have to travel out of the area as much,” said Bobb.
Donations can be made by stopping by the foundation’s office at the hospital, or by mailing a cheque or money order to PO Box 551, Smithers, BC, V0J 2N0.