More funds needed for new emergency department campaign

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Lady Minto Hospital Foundation members are thrilled with community response to the emergency department campaign so far, but need the donations to keep on flowing in order to meet their target. 

Some $1.3 million has been raised since the Strengthen Our Lifeline community fundraising campaign was launched on June 23, with $700,000 still required to meet the $2-million goal. 

LMHF executive director Roberta Martell said it’s been an incredible experience to go through the mail that comes in every day. 

“When you open the envelopes there can be $50, there can be $50,000; they can be lifelong donors, and lots of people are first-time donors, writing their stories about how important the emergency department has been to them and how it’s impacted their family, and they are giving what they can, whether it’s $50, $500 or $50,000. It’s impressive.”

Carol Biely, campaign committee chair, agrees that it’s “very humbling. It’s a wonderful feeling that we are doing something the community really really cares about to get us to this point so quickly. It really shows the commitment to the hospital and the love of the hospital in the community.”

The heartfelt stories accompanying many donations has been an unexpected facet of the campaign.

“It is really giving people an outlet for their gratitude and I think that is really important,” said Biely.

A number of donations have also been received from people in other communities who have been treated at Lady Minto Hospital. 

“It’s amazing to see the love not only from Salt Spring but from other communities,” said Martell. 

With all funds hopefully secured by Thanksgiving, the $10.4-million, 420-square-metre (4,500-square-foot) project will be put out to tender by mid-October. 

LMHF chair Dave Taylor said the detailed design process is now complete and everything is right on schedule. 

“I think our projection of shovels in the ground early in the new year is a good one,” he said. 

Construction time is an estimated 15 months. 

The foundation has committed to providing $7.4 million of the total cost, with the Capital Regional Housing District adding $3 million. 

The new department will double the number of acute and primary care patients that can be treated at one time, will have a mental health and substance use treatment room, medication area, dedicated triage desk, ambulance bay, accessible washrooms, decontamination site and a larger patient and family waiting area. 

Biely stresses how everyone wants to improve the working conditions for the much-valued hospital staff by providing the new facility. 

“I don’t know how they manage when they have two or three people on gurneys coming in,” she said. “And a lot of the stories I hear are about the need for privacy. The staff are so good and respectful about that but there is only so much they can do in that space. We need to support the staff.”  

People can donate online, via etransfer, with cheques sent by mail, do share donations or give cash. All donations over $20 receive tax receipts. 

The website for more details is ladymintofoundation.com and the office phone number is 250-538-4845.

Thermometer-image signs will be in place around the community to report on progress towards the $10.4-million goal. 

“We just want to say, ‘Help us over the top, everybody!” said Biely. 

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