Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran speaks at launch for $8 million Better Together fundraising campaign to build JoeAnna’s house. Photo Credit: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Column: JoeAnna’s House a worthy cause

Fundraising underway to construct facility where families can stay during crisis

News that the Kelowna Hospital Foundation is initiating a campaign to help construct the 20-room JoeAnna’s House, where families can stay together during a health-care crisis, is welcome indeed.

In all the shuffle of news last week and because it happened in Kelowna, this story may have escaped your notice. (Check out our story on page A17.) But it is incredibly important to people in this region.

One-in-four patients admitted to hospital in Kelowna are from outside that city — many of them from the Shuswap. And being in hospital so far from homes comes with a host of challenges, not only for the patient, but for their family.

It takes me back to my own situation just after the birth of my twins in the Kamloops hospital.

They were premature and needed to remain in their incubators in the neo-natal intensive care (NICU) nursery.

I, however, had no unusual physical aliments after their birth and, with hospital beds at a premium, I was kindly informed by the doctor that it was time for me to vacate the hospital.

I think the look of disbelief said it all.

“But where am I going to go?” I asked, as I teared up. “You just told me I have to be here every three hours around the clock to nurse my babies.”

A social worker was dispatched. She held my hand and kindly asked, “Do you have any friends in town you could stay with?”

No. Didn’t know anyone.

Another option suggested was for me to leave the babies in the nursery and commute from Salmon Arm whenever I could.

Ask any new mother if that is a good option when her fragile babies are in intensive care. It’s not.

The long stay in a Kamloops hotel ran up a credit-card bill into the thousands of dollars.

This is something that would be avoided had an option like JoeAnna’s House been available.

Health-care workers have all witnessed the stories of accommodation challenges people face.

“That is contrary to good health care. People recover better when they are together with family or loved ones and able to support each other,” Doug Rankmore, chief executive officer of the KGH Foundation said at the announcement of a fundraising campaign for this project. Rankmore is absolutely right.

I’m happy to point out the Huber family, who own the Prestige Hotel chain are getting behind this initiative. They have committed $1 million to the campaign and will be organizing fundraising initiatives in their hotels, including at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort in Salmon Arm.

While many people like to support local charities, it should be pointed out that, although the home will be built in Kelowna, this is a local cause. It will support people from the Shuswap who are going through some of the most difficult times they will ever face.

I hope this is a project our community can get behind.

Just Posted

Vipers hold off Wild 3-1

The Vernon Vipers take a 2-0 series lead to Washington State

Enterprize top-10 announced

Community Futures North Okanagan offers $35,000

It’s beetle season in Lake Country

Boxelder beetles are coming out from the warmth of the tree roots

St. Patrick sets a good example

There’s more to St. Patrick’s Day than green beer and leprechauns

OUR VIEW: Taking on distracted driving a worthwhile endeavour

Any initiative to keep people paying attention to the road instead of their phone is a good one

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

Most Read