Little patients needing dental surgery will be able to seek treatment closer to home, thanks to a generous donation from the Port Alberni Toy Run.
Toy Run members on Tuesday gave $20,000 to the West Coast General Hospital Foundation, which will bolster the pediatric dentistry program in Port Alberni.
“This vital community support will benefit children in the area for years to come,” dentist Dr. Jim Chan said.
“In the field of pediatric dentistry, our patients experience several challenges. One such challenge is access to care,” said Chan, who is based at Holly Tree Dental in Nanaimo.
“For some families, travelling out of town to see a specialist is a significant barrier. Long surgical wait times can also affect these patients’ dental experiences.
“This gift helps provide a local option which will reduce wait times for children who cannot be treated in an office setting.”
The donation will secure operating room time for Chan and fellow pediatric dentists Dr. Kimiko Kika and Dr. Felicity Hardwick to come to Port Alberni several times a month and treat patients at WCGH.
The donation will also bring the wait list down, said Ellen Brown, site director at WCGH. “I am delighted with this donation from the Toy Run and hospital foundation,” she said.
“It’s the biggest donation we’ve made,” Toy Run chairman David Wiwchar said. “In 2001 we gave $16,000 to the foundation to build the playhouse in the (hospital) lobby to make the hospital more child friendly. This donation is to bring services back that used to be here in the old hospital.”
Wiwchar established a legacy fund with the Toy Run six or seven years ago, and the organization has tucked away between $2,000 and $5,000 each year.
“As we’re headed into the 30th anniversary we had $20,000 in the fund,” he said.
The pediatric dental program melds well with the Toy Run’s mandate to donate to children’s programs, Wiwchar added.
The money is expected to pay for specialized x-rays and several trays of child-sized tools.
Foundation chair Claire Tucker recognized the Toy Run with a special print.