Health Auxiliary funds new cardiology clinic

The Summerland Health Care Auxiliary will have its name on the Cardiology Diagnostic Clinic in the new Patient Care Tower.

The Summerland Health Care Auxiliary will have its name on the Cardiology Diagnostic Clinic in the new Patient Care Tower at Penticton Regional Hospital.

The auxiliary, which operates the popular Thrift Shop on Victoria Road, announced in March its pledge to raise $1 million over five years towards the $20-million fundraising campaign by the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation. The money from the fundraising campaign will be used to acquire all the medical equipment for the $325-million hospital expansion.

Now, the auxiliary has decided to direct that money towards sponsorship of the Cardiology Clinic.

The provincial government (through Interior Health) allows donors to put their name on specific rooms, clinics, departments and other aspects of the new tower for 10 per cent of the total construction cost. All funds raised go to the Medical Foundation campaign.

Auxiliary president Wess Campbell said the Auxiliary decided on April 13 to sponsor the Cardiology Clinic.

“We looked at three of the options that were a million dollars and we decided that was the one we liked the best,” he said. “Probably everybody has had an ECG (electro-cardiogram).”

Campbell said it wasn’t a tough decision to back the Foundation’s campaign, emphasizing the auxiliary will still be able to donate to other charity groups as well.

“We looked at what we had done over the last five years and we thought: ‘Yes, we should be able to do this,’” he said. “We can make a commitment and hopefully we won’t have to downsize donations to anyone else.”

The auxiliary’s support for the campaign has been greeted positively by the overall community, Campbell added.

“We got a lot of positive feedback. The people in Summerland think: ‘This is our thrift shop and this is a commitment from our town,’” he said.

The Thrift Shop, run entirely by auxiliary volunteers, generates about $320,000 a year in net revenue.

Janice Perrino, the Foundation’s executive director, said it’s hoped that other organizations, businesses and individuals will follow the Summerland Health Care Auxiliary’s lead.

“This organization has, with this gift, started the process of major gifts coming forward,” Perrino said. “They’re lighting the fire for other organizations.”

The Patient Care Tower will include new surgical rooms, 84 single-patient rooms, ambulatory care clinics and other facilities. Construction will begin in early 2016.

The Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District will fund $122 million (40 per cent) of the construction cost, while the provincial government and its private sector P3 partner will pay about $183 million (60 per cent).