The Starry Nights Fundraiser for our local hospice society went extremely well this year even though we didn’t have a Christmas parade and light up the hospital gathering. We have such an amazingly generous community that never seem to waiver no matter what the circumstances are at the time. $80,000 has been raised so far for the two hospice rooms at the 100 Mile Hospital.
(Patrick Davies photo – 100 Mile Free Press)Starry Night’s organizer is Brenda Devine who said she enjoys volunteering with the South Cariboo Health Foundation as a way to give back to the hospital. (Patrick Davies photo – 100 Mile Free Press)
The 100 Mile and District General Hospital is about to be lit up for Christmas as the South Cariboo Health Foundation launches its seventh annual Starry Nights campaign.
A popular 100 Mile House tradition, the Starry Nights lights will switch on at the hospital on Nov. 20.
However, organizer Brenda Devine said unlike past years, they’ll be unable to have a large congregation of people at the hospital for hot chocolate and coffee.
Instead, people are asked to walk or drive-by the hospital to view the lights, which will remain lit until Jan. 31.
Devine, involved in the foundation’s public relations and fundraising, has been organizing Starry Nights for eight years now, raising money for hospital equipment. This year, rather than buy equipment, she said they’re looking to raise money to help 100 Mile House Hospice complete the construction of two new “deluxe” palliative care rooms in the hospital for patients with high-level medical needs.
“Palliative is basically end of life and it’s a very difficult time, so having nice surroundings, comfort, a little bit of home away from home (is good),” Devine said. “We’ve said we’ll try to give as much as we can (raise) maybe $25,000, or more into helping complete what they’re doing.”
While people won’t be able to gather for hot chocolate and coffee, Devine said Starry Nights will still be a beautiful start for both the holiday season and the society’s fundraising efforts. She’s hopeful that they’ll be able to raise a lot of money for Hospice this year. The hospital is a high priority for everyone in the area, she said.
The theme around Starry Nights is that when people donate more than $50, they become a health star. Donations officially open on Nov. 20 but she said people are already reaching out to donate.
Helping out the hospital is especially meaningful for Devine, after having a loved one in palliative care a few years ago. The way she and her loved one were treated really stuck with her and made her want to help the hospital any way she could.
“The ability to help raise money and see something completed (is great). When you raise money lots of places send the money out of town but we keep the money in here,” Devine said. “That’s why the health foundation was created in 2002, we didn’t want to see anything raised here to go out of this town.”
Over the years the foundation has funded projects including a BiPAP ventilator, ultrasound system, renovations to the lobby, a hematology analyzer and an upgrade to the emergency room. Over the years 100 Mile House has raised $4-million for the hospital.
Those looking to donate can do so by dropping off cheques or money at the hospital via the two reception areas. They can also mail a cheque to Bag 399, 100 Mile House B.C. V0K 2E0 or contact Devine at 250-706-2101.
A couple of local ladies donated $1,000 to the South Cariboo Health Foundation (SCHF) with the proceeds coming from a couple hundred masks they’d sewn and sold.
“We didn’t count them to tell you the honest truth,” says Lorna Wiebe. “We put them up at the Interlakes Market because when I went up there one day, I saw an employee wearing one. I had just started making some for friends and family.”
They asked if they could put them up by donation at the store and were told that of course they could.
Initially, they were offering them by donation but they ended up switching to asking $5 donations.
They’ve got about another 100 made again already, says Wiebe.
“We knew it was a need. COVID is not going away and as you watch the news, they say everybody needs to wear a mask on the ferries, on the busses and everything and we thought why not?
In addition to Wiebe, Shelley Theriault and Irene Jones helped make the masks.
They decided to donate to the South Cariboo Health Foundation because “we’re all getting older.”
“My husband had bladder cancer and has to use the hospital for that. It’s a need,” she says.
They’re planning to keep selling them until they run out of fabric, she says with a laugh.
“We’ve had to purchase the elastic ourselves but both Shelley and myself are quilters so we do have an abundance of fabric in our homes and we’ve been using our own fabric for this,” she says, “and of course our own thread and our machines and our time but that’s volunteer work and we do a lot of that around Deka Lake.”
They didn’t realize quite how much it was going to take off, says Brenda Devine, public relations and fundraising co-ordinator and consultant for the SCHF.
“I didn’t know we’d be getting this money but it’s really great,” she says. “Right now, there’s not a whole lot of fundraising, like the traditional style, so this is quite helpful for us and for somebody to take the time to be that kind and generous to us is quite nice. It’s really nice.”
They appreciate their dedication and hard work in sewing all the masks and giving the wonderful donation, she says.
“The foundation remains active in conjunction with the local hospital and we are still considering new purchases for their operations. As this year has been challenging we will still be planning for our annual Starry Nights campaign which starts in early November.”
Wiebe says they hope to donate again at Christmas time for Starry Nights.
The 100 Mile District General hospital has a new pediatric chair to do chest X-rays.
“We can do chest X-ray more efficiently and get the babies more secure,” says professional practice leader Timothy Palma. The South Cariboo Health Foundation purchased the unit which costs about $6,000.
“It’s for the security of the baby, that’s the number one thing. That’s why we asked the foundation to help us with this because we [didn’t] have one here in 100 Mile and there’s a lot of kids. We want good pictures so we can get a better diagnosis of the babies’ chest.”
In the first month of usage, they’ve used it six times, says Palma.
“We’re more confident now because the baby is secure and we can do the job faster.”
The chair is fairly easy to use and doesn’t leave any artifacts on the picture, says Palma, adding that he’s not seen too many tears so far.
Palma added it’s nice to have the modern one and that the old school models looked like a blender.
The chair can be used for children between about one and four years old.
“I would like to thank the foundation for giving us this equipment and the hospital and the community.”
The South Cariboo Health Foundation is a local charitable foundation that was created to support local community health facilities and health projects and to ensure that money raised or donated in the area remains in the community.
Four new mattresses have found their way to 100 Mile House.
BRENDAN KYLE JURE
Jul. 25, 2019 2:00 p.m.
100 Mile and District Hospital has received four new specialized mattress, two of two different types, due to fundraising efforts of the South Cariboo Health Foundation (SCHF) and the Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD).
“I’m just really pleased we were able to support the foundation and their continued work for the hospital,” said Al Richmond, vice-chair of the CCRHD. “I know people think they’re worth a lot of money but it’s high tech and it keeps people comfortable.”
The four mattresses were under $40,000 in total.
Chris Nickless, chair of the SCHF, said the most asked question they have gotten about the mattresses is regarding the cost and why the SCHF didn’t purchase them from somewhere like Sealy Canada.
“They don’t realize how high tech they are and how important they are,” he said.
Brenda Devine, SCHF’s public relations person, chipped in, saying the mattresses were usually for critically ill people.
Two of the mattresses are gel-based, while the other two are motorized air-filled with special functions, allowing for heat control, pulsing and the ability to turn its occupant.
“The other thing too, I think, is just a reminder for everyone to realize everything we raise in this community stays here,” said Devine.
Nickless jumped in, saying the SCHD was formed for exactly that same reason.
“Prior to the foundation being former, any money people donated to the 100 Mile Hospital or to Interior Health (IH), it could go to Trail, it could go to Kelowna, it could go to Kamloops, it could go anywhere IH services and we recognized people want the money to stay here, so bu donating to the foundation, it keeps money here.”