Hospital auxiliary fulfills $500,000 pledge

Peggy Revell

The La Verendrye Hospital Auxiliary fulfilled a 10-year promise on Saturday afternoon when they presented the Riverside Foundation for Health Care with the final cheques to complete its $500,000 pledge to the “Care Close to Home” fundraising campaign.
The cheques totalling $25,000 were presented at the auxiliary’s annual tea at the New Beginnings Fellowship church.
Accepting the cheques on behalf of the Foundation was Deane Cunningham, who thanked the auxiliary for the “tremendous job” they have done—and continue to do in raising funds for local health care and La Verendrye Hospital.
“For a group of volunteers to put their hand up to raising $500,000 for the community is absolutely tremendous, and everyone who’s been involved with that should just thank themselves for the tremendous job they’ve done for the community,” he lauded, asking auxiliary members to stand for a round of applause.
Cunningham also brought out the auxiliary’s original letter of intent—dated Feb. 15, 2000—which then was stamped as “paid” in front of the crowd.
“It is entirely appropriate that our annual tea is being held at the same time as the 25th anniversary of the breast health program at La Verendrye Hospital because it was that program which propelled the auxiliary into the world of high finance,” auxiliary president Noreen Robertson, noted in her speech.
“Some of us here today remember being asked to spearhead the fundraising for a mammography machine to benefit the women of the district, at a cost of over $100,000,” she recalled, noting the auxiliary did not deal in “numbers that large” at that time, instead focusing on providing small equipment items and services for patients.
“But we were solidly behind the breast health program and we took it on.
“And with the help of district organizations, as well as our own community, we raised the money,” Robertson said.
“I remember receiving a cheque from the Emo Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary for $1,000 and thinking, ‘Oh, this is easy—all we need is 99 more people with a cheque,” she chuckled.
Next came the commitment of $400,000 as part of the auxiliary’s pledge to supply electric beds for the new St. Andrew’s Ward with the remodelling of La Verendrye Hospital—soon followed by its pledge to contribute another $500,000 for the “Care Close to Home” campaign being run by the newly-formed Riverside Foundation.
“If my math is correct, that adds up to over $1 million since we first began serious fundraising,” Robertson said to a round of applause from those on hand.
“Over that period of less than 25 years, we have had good years and bad,” Robertson admitted, noting the original commitment was to have the $500,000 raised in five years, but this was extended to 10 years.
“We have seen the government of the day change lottery regulations so that our income from that source was drastically diminished,” she noted.
“We have learned about new diseases like SARS and H1N1 that can result in closure of the hospital to visitors and reduce our gift shop receipts.
“Our members may have become a little older and a little less ambitious in fundraising projects, but the same members and the community have never let us down,” she lauded.
Besides the cheques that marked the final instalment of the “Care Close to Home” pledge, the funds presented to the Foundation on Saturday also went towards the auxiliary’s commitment to the “Just Imagine” campaign for the CT Scanner at La Verendrye.
Fundraising for this commitment still is ongoing through its “Lobby Lottery.”