Marion Labrie

Invermere Health Care Auxiliary recognized for helping campaign reach $1 million goal

The spirit of giving in the East Kootenay has become the driving force in accessing health care.

The spirit of giving in the East Kootenay has become the driving force in accessing health care.

The Invermere Health Care Auxiliary donated $50,000 to the East Kootenay Foundation for Health, along with the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary, which donated $450,000, and the Kimberley Health Care Auxiliary, which donated $90,000, to help reach the $1 million goal for critical care equipment for East Kootenay Regional Hospital’s (EKRH) new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Cranbrook.

The remaining funds for the project came through public donations. The fundraising was stewarded by the East Kootenay Foundation for Health.

“We’re just thrilled to announce that the ICU re-development $1 million fundraising campaign has met its goal, and a big commitment of that came from the Invermere Health Care Auxiliary with a gift of $50,000 combined with two other auxiliaries to make the big component of the campaign goal,” said Donna Grainger, executive director at the East Kootenay Foundation for Health. “We’re just ecstatic about it.”

As a result of the region’s health care volunteers, the target goal for the fundraiser was met ahead of schedule, added Grainger.

“The success of this campaign highlights the overwhelming generosity of health care donors and the remarkable collaboration of our health care auxiliaries and the Foundation,” said Erica Phillips, Interior Health’s acute health services administrator for East Kootenay, in a recent press release.

For the volunteers at the Invermere Health Care Auxiliary, supporting the regional cause was an easy decision.

“Most of (the population of) Invermere goes to (the hospital in) Cranbrook, that’s why we wanted to support it,” said Paige Ukass, Invermere Health Care Auxiliary president. “It’s not only the Cranbrook area, it’s also our area and the Golden area because it’s our regional hospital.”

Now, Interior Health has begun the final phase of construction for the new ICU and some major electrical upgrades to EKRH.

The new addition will replace the four-bed unit that is currently being used and will also include two new high-acuity beds, geared toward relieving pressure on the ICU to preserve resources for the most critically-ill patients.

All of the participating parties remain optimistic that this positive change will allow East Kootenay residents to receive health care closer to home.

The $1 million donor-driven community fundraising campaign (to purchase the critically needed intensive care equipment) is part of the broader $20 million ICU/Electrical Redevelopment Project at EKRH.

The Government of B.C. is funding approximately $12 million and the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District is providing approximately $8 million.

With all the essential funding in place, equipment is being ordered and installations are commencing with a timeline to coincide with the ICU commissioning, which is scheduled for the spring of 2016.

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