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    Categories: Health & Wellness

Hospital foundation set to raise $1 million

Kristina Spiller

Try to imagine 10 million loonies piled up on a Sturgeon Hospital gurney. Now imagine all the people in Sturgeon County and St. Albert who in the past 25 years donated to the Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation in millions of different ways. Such imaginings might fill the entire building with a sense of communal joy because if there is one thing people here will give their money to, it’s to our hospital.

“We are very blessed to have a hospital in St. Albert and people here are very generous. The approximately $10 million raised in 25 years comes from every corner of the community,” said Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation executive director Katrina Black.

The funding touched every department in the hospital, Black said.

“In a perfect world government would provide funding for the basics. Capital Health assists the hospital for extras for the best patient care. Our mandate is to look after the underfunded priorities of the hospital,” Black said.

The foundation’s key areas of growth have been to fund enhanced family care; provide leading edge medical equipment; support medical research and ongoing community education programs.

“We don’t just fund-raise. That’s why we call it ‘friend’ raising. The foundation supports education programs for example in conjunction with the Primary Care Network. We provide enhanced family care in the neo-natal units and in palliative care. We support families and patients in every stage of life,” she said.

Each year hospital administrators present the foundation’s board of directors with a wish list for things needed to upgrade equipment and to provide for patient care.

The foundation raised $500,000 in the early 2000s for a CT scanner. At the time Capital Health funding would have provided a four-slice scanner but Sturgeon Hospital administrators asked the foundation to step up and raise enough money to purchase a 16-slice scanner.

“Without that funding the hospital would have had to wait years for that scanner. The scanner has evolved since then and the technology has been upgraded many times. The Sturgeon Hospital was the first in Western Canada to get a CT scanner with those capabilities and we did it, with the help of the community,” she said.

Other large projects, which the hospital foundation supported, include $500,000 towards the new Emergency Room and Intensive Care Unit. The foundation received a large endowment to support research for upper-limb orthopedic care and most recently the Medicine Program was supported with a $500,000 donation from the foundation for 14 new beds along with the necessary equipment and monitors.

Individual and corporate donations of all sizes and denominations come to the foundation, Black said, stressing that all the $10 and $50 individual donations add to the communal pot along with endowments and donations from service club groups. Together they add up to a lot of caring in terms of what the hospital foundation can support.

“Those individual donations are huge. They go towards the $10 million raised in 25 years and they go towards making patient care easier,” Katrina said.

While most of the fund-raising goals so far have gone towards supporting $500,000 requests from hospital administrators, this year the target is the largest yet. For its 25th anniversary project, the Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation aims to raise $1 million.

“We are going all out! Our goal for the whole year is to raise $1 million for the Sturgeon hospital’s Endoscopy Enhancement program. That will mean more colorectal screening. The goal is to significantly reduce wait times for colonoscopies and other scopes for colorectal screening. The goal is to reduce the wait time to eight weeks,” Black said.

For more information about the Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation or to support the hospital in reaching its $1 million goal, visit sturgeonhospitalfoundation.org.

Susan Jones: Susan Jones has been a freelance writer for the St. Albert Gazette since 2009, following a 20-year career at the St. Albert Gazette. Susan writes about homes, gardens, community events and people.