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Residents deliver record support for Vernon hospital campaign

Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation reaches $6 million goal to purchase second CT scanner
Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation staff and hospital workers celebrate the foundation reaching its goal to purchase a second CT scanner for the imaging department. (Contributed)

They phoned and sent notes and even stopped in to tell their stories — of how a CT scan saved the life of a sister in a car crash, or made all the difference when a husband got cancer.

They wrote cheques. They donated online. They told their friends and in-laws.

In this way, the Light a Bulb appeal to help raise the remaining $900,000 for an urgently needed second CT scanner at Vernon Jubilee Hospital has reached its goal several months early.

“I’m so proud to be part of such a generous community. The support we’ve seen has been so far beyond any of our expectations,” says Michael Kinghorn, board president, VJH Foundation. “The way businesses, donors and families came together shows how timely access to diagnosis and treatment impacts so many, and the result is awe-inspiring.”

Following a rare $1 million gift and other significant early support toward the $6.3 million needed to double CT scanning capacity, the foundation launched an ambitious public campaign in mid-November to raise the last $900,000. The campaign was intended to close this spring, but early on, the foundation could see that people cared deeply about this cause.

In November, 720 donations were made compared to 274 in the same month last year — thanks to a tremendously successful Giving Tuesday, when $265,000 was raised — and then generously matched by the Galbraith Family Foundation.

Albertans with homes here also issued a challenge to donate. Only five weeks into the campaign, the goal was in sight. Now, early in the new year, the community has reached the finish line. Due to the substantial volume of donations the small foundation team is still processing donations and issuing tax receipts.

“This is a huge deal for our hospital and it’s incredible that we have so much support from Vernon and the North Okanagan,” says Dr. Adam Weathermon, department head, Medical Imaging VJH. “On behalf of the imaging department, and the entire hospital team, I would like to extend a tremendously heartfelt thank you. Because of your generosity, we can provide better care. That is what really drives us at the end of the day, to provide better service and better healthcare for our patients.”

CT scanners play a critical role in ensuring timely access to diagnosis and treatment.

In the last year, there have been more than 2,000 people on a waitlist for CT scans at VJH, and that wait time reached 68 days, even though the hospital’s one state-of-the-art scanner is running 24/7. Now, with a second next-generation CT scanner, residents will have timely access to both scheduled and emergency scans.

Construction is now underway for the expanded imaging wing, and the new scanner is expected to be in use in the fall.

READ MORE: Donations for new CT scanner at Vernon hospital doubled on Giving Tuesday

READ MORE: Albertans lend support for second CT scanner at Vernon hospital

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