Major fundraiser ends on high note

Vernon Jubilee Hospital's Building A Tower Of Care campaign raises $7 million

The largest fundraising campaign in the North Okanagan’s history has come to a successful conclusion a year ahead of schedule.

The Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation has reached its $7 million goal for the Building a Tower of Care campaign, three years after it began. The funds have purchased medical equipment for the new Polson tower at the hospital.

“I’m thrilled we’ve been able to accomplish a very substantial goal we set,” said Paul Nixon, campaign honourary chairperson.

“To me, it demonstrates the caring and generosity of our North Okanagan community.”

The campaign was led by co-chairpersons Joanne Kineshanko and Laurie Postill.

“With the opening of the tower, Vernon Jubilee Hospital has embarked on a new course of health care,” said Kineshanko.

“We have made a major investment in Vernon Jubilee Hospital to ensure the future health of our community.”

Ever the eternal optimist, Kineshanko always had faith in the generosity of North Okanagan residents to help reach such a lofty goal. What surprised her was raising $7 million almost 14 months ahead of the Dec. 2012 target date.

“I am surprised we did it in three years,” said Kineshanko, who said that never for a minute did she doubt the campaign would fall short of its goal.

“It’s been just an amazing experience for myself and Laurie and the whole campaign team,” she said.

“I never felt it was a task dragging me down or we weren’t going to make the goal.”

The entire North Okanagan region, along with out-of-town visitors, embraced the campaign, holding different types of fundraising events.

Golf was a popular event for the campaign.

The VJH Foundation Charity Classic at Predator Ridge raised net proceeds of $200,000 from its gala dinner and auction this year, which was held in the ambulance bay of the new tower, and golf tournament.

The always entertaining Wine, Women and Woods at the Vernon Golf and Country Club raised $80,000 while the campaign pocketed another 42,000 from The Rise Fabulous Fall Golf Vista Tour this year.

The first Dragon Boat Festival raised more than $8,000 to purchase biopsy guns for the hospital’s mammography department.

Zumba For A Cause helped the campaign raise more than $11,000 over three years.

Vernon’s Longhorn Pub, for three years, held a one-day Rock For Care, where 12 bands would converge and each play for an hour. Rock For Care raised more than $7,000 for the campaign.

Events have also been held in Armstrong, Enderby and Lumby.

While Nixon and Kineshanko praised the efforts of the community, and the entire campaign team, Nixon saved special recognition for the foundation’s staff, Sue Beaudry Andrea Egan and Terri Manke.

“Those three don’t get enough credit for the success of the campaign,” said Nixon.

“Without them,  we wouldn’t have met with success.”

The completion of the campaign is by no means the end of the need for financial support for health care in the North Okanagan.

Whether it be community or mental health, residential care or other areas in Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Kineshanko says the foundation will continues to raise money to support excellence in health care.