Irene Loewen, left, of the West Coast General Hospital Women’s Auxiliary presents WCGH site director Pam Rardon with a cheque for $200,000—a record amount raised this year. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)

West Coast General Hospital auxiliary makes record $200K donation

Hospital uses funds for patient care and comfort, says WCGH site director

The West Coast General Hospital women’s auxiliary has donated a record $200,000 to the Port Alberni hospital this year.

“We have an exciting surprise this year,” auxiliary president Irene Loewen announced at the annual auxiliary tea in the hospital cafeteria.

“Our Attic Thrift Shop has outgrown its success and we have to charge PST and GST.” That helped contribute to the record amount of money raised, she added.

This is the largest donation the auxiliary has ever been able to make to the hospital, Loewen said. It surpasses last year’s record year by $50,000. Monies are raised through the Attic and the gift shop at the hospital.

Hospital site director Pam Rardon thanked auxiliary members for all their hard work in being able to make such a generous donation, and “for making a difference for our patients, their families and our community in the Alberni Valley. With the high cost of health care…the auxiliary makes a difference between being able to afford things we want and need, and not being able to,” she added.

Rardon said later that the record donation was a real surprise. “It was such a generous amount from last year, and they worked really hard to get that.”

The Attic also moved to new quarters in the same strip mall on Johnston Road, with more square footage.

The WCGH Auxiliary’s donation is critical for the hospital, Rardon said. “As more and more of our resources are needed for direct patient care the capital equipment is more difficult to find funding for. (Their donation) makes a huge difference in being able to afford that.

“We’re able to keep up with good equipment.”

The donation has enabled the hospital to buy two ultrasound machines this year: a new one for the operating room and a replacement for an older machine in labour and delivery. The hospital was also able to fund educational opportunities for staff members, Rardon said.

“We’ve got some cardiac monitoring things we need to purchase. We have some upgrades with some beds to do; it’s an ongoing thing.”

Every year the hospital looks for items needed in the maternity and paediatric wards too. “Oftentimes it’s those little things that make a big difference,” she added.

The hospital also needs more bariatric equipment, which is expensive but “necessary for the safety of patients and staff.”

Patty Edwards, who attended the WCGH Auxiliary tea on Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser’s behalf, congratulated auxiliary members on their efforts in the past year.

“By raising money for equipment at the hospital you are raising everyone’s experience here,” she said. “It’s an important contribution.”

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