Women’s and children’s health services representatives Michelle Rotenburger

Women’s and children’s health services representatives Michelle Rotenburger

Campaign gets $250,000 boost

The Buddy Bears are the cuddly symbol of a community’s love and concern for the well being of its children.

Variety puts that caring into action through using the funds raised through the Buddy Bear Radiothon to help local families with the resources needed for medical care.

This year, the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation’s Building a Tower of Care Campaign received arms full of Buddy Bears and a cheque for $250,000 Wednesday.

The money will be used to purchase medical equipment for the new nursery and one of the pediatric outpatient clinic rooms in the new women’s and children’s health services department in the patient care tower, which will open in September.

The medical staff who will be working in the new unit are excited when they talk about what it will mean for patient care.

“We will have a nursery with four roomy bays and an extra space that can be an isolation unit if needed,” said Diane Betman, clinical co-ordinator at VJH.

“This will allow us to keep babies who need extra care closer to home and to spend more time with their parents which allows them to get better faster.”

There will also be a new designated resuscitation area and the capacity for video conferencing for patients and specialists in other parts of the province, meaning less need for upsetting and expensive travel.

“This grant is stocking the whole nursery. We will have a new central monitoring system,” said Michelle Rotenburger, women’s and children’s health services unit manager.

“This has been five years in the planning, with the last few years getting down to the specific equipment and the layout of the rooms. It is going to be so much nicer for everyone involved with the care of these kids. We’re just thrilled. And the bears will be there waiting for a buddy when the new unit opens.”

Laurie Postill, Building A Tower of Care Campaign co-chairperson, accepted the $250,000 donation Wednesday.

“We’re thrilled with this donation and it moves the campaign forward,” she said.

“We would like to thank everyone who has donated and want to remind anyone who has been thinking of donating that now is a good time. We have had donations from children, students, individuals, families, businesses, organizations and part-time residents of the North Okanagan. All the donations have added up to get us to where we are.”

The Variety donation brings the campaign total to $6.2 million, with $800,000 left to go.

Donations can be made at 250-558-1362. or at www.vjhfoundation.org.

Tami Leidl, director of the Variety Heart Fund, which gives grants, was holding three Buddy Bears, Mr. Cuddles, Bartholomew and Jonah, and smiling.

“I have the pleasure of being able to give out the grants. We want to be able to help all the hospitals in the province help more families,” she said.

“This grant in Vernon will help the hospital care for more babies who need special help to begin stay closer to home. The money that was raised in the community in the radiothon comes back to the community this way.”