Health foundation fundraiser shines a light on W. J. Cadzow hospital
LAC LA BICHE – Some game-winners went home with money, some with trips, weekend stay-cation package, others won auction items donated by local business — but the big winner of Friday’s Game Night fundraiser was healthcare in the Lac La Biche community.
Through donations and proceeds, the Lac La Biche Regional Health Foundation’s Game Night & Date Night fundraiser brought in about $80,000 — enough to reach the current goal of purchasing a new lighting system for the operating room at the W. J. Cadzow Hospital.
The updated technology is another piece of the ongoing work done by the local foundation that raises funds and awareness to modernize and equip the local hospital with needed equipment. The specialized lighting system has a price tag of $77,000, says Alan Sinclair the chairperson of the local foundation’s board, joking that they are not just a few light-bulbs, but an entire lighting system that is part of the hospital infrastructure and an integral to patient safety.
“It’s another big milestone out of the way, which is terrific,” said Sinclair.
In about a decade of service, the volunteer-driven foundation has raised hundreds of thousands in local funding for equipment and services at the Cadzow hospital including mobile heart monitors, a specialized exam table for women’s health programming and a CT scanner.
The funding raised at the recent games night has literally turned on the lights at the hospital’s surgery, highlighting its need and significance in the region. When asked about recent physician shortage in the community and at the local hospital, and how that would affect the future role of the local operating room, Sinclair first clarified that the role of the foundation is only as an awareness and fundraising organization; it’s not politically driven. But on a personal level, relying on a 35-year career in healthcare, he is confident that solutions are on the horizon. A former manager at the Cadzow hospital, an administrator with the former regional health board, and recently retired from an operations role with Alberta Health Services, he recognizes the challenges in local healthcare staffing, but says AHS continues to budget for services at Cadzow.
“We know the importance of keeping our full service rural hospital, and that is what AHS is approving and promising us,” he said.
About 150 people attended Friday’s game night fundraiser, keeping the local healthcare at the forefront of those future plans. The activities featured live and silent auctions as well as dice games, guessing games, other games of chance and a crowd-favourite life-sized Operation Game.
“There was a line up for that for most of the night,” he said.
While a significant portion of Friday night’s funds came from the games and auctions, the foundation was also boosted by corporate donations including a $10,000 donation from Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, a $10,000 donation from Cenovus and another $10,000 from the Tarrabain family in memory of Jim and Sid Tarrabain.
With Friday’s event out of the way, and its funding goal met, foundation members are already looking at new goals and new equipment.
“There’s always something on the list,” Sinclair said, explaining that discussions will take place with AHS and local hospital officials for an idea of what the priorities are.
Of course, the community doesn’t have to wait until he next time foundation fundraiser to get involved.
“People can donate anytime, you can find out more on our social media and our local contact details,” he said, explaining that the local foundation’s goals are always locally-based. “The key thing we tell people is that all the money they are donating stays local. It stays in Lac La Biche County and helps services with the goal of being bigger and better in the future.”