This fall, the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation embarks on a major fundraising campaign. With the Canada 150 anniversary as the backdrop, the Foundation is planning on a Gala evening Oct. 14 at Church and State Winery in Central Saanich.
The foundation itself has earned tremendous support from the community over the years, raising money for new operating rooms, sterilization facilities and a variety of spaces and programs for people who find themselves in the Saanich Peninsula Hospital.
Sidney’s Maurice and Doreen Muloin are a local couple who found themselves at the hospital quite often, during a long stretch of time when their son, Denis, was being treated for cancer. They agreed to speak with the Peninsula News Review about their experience there — and about what they liked about the hospital, despite their unfortunate circumstances.
Denis died three-and-a-half years ago, leaving behind a family and parents who miss him, but who can talk of their son in much the spirit in which he lived. And despite the circumstances they found themselves in when they had to go to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital’s palliative care facility, the Muloins had nothing but praise for hospital staff — and for the Foundation that ensures people who need to be there, have all that they require.
“We spent a lot of time there,” Maurice said. “Also, he spent a lot of time at the other two hospitals … he was nine years, more or less hospitalized with a brain tumour.”
“You had to [go to all the hospitals] because the operations were done at the General, and then he was in the Jubilee a lot … because you had to go to the cancer clinic there,” added Doreen.
Maurice said what really impressed him was the care Denis during his nearly three months at the Saan Pen Hospital’s palliative care facility.
‘The care that he got was exceptional. Plus, the country atmosphere there that they have. It’s quiet there, it’s out of the way of traffic. The whole setup is ideal.”
Both Maurice and Doreen said the reason they were there was ‘not comfortable’ but the staff helped a lot.
“They made it as good as it could be,” Doreen said.
Denis had spent much of his life working for Russ Hays bicycle shop in Greater Victoria, after he came out west from his parents’ home in Montreal at the time. He was very active in the biking community, which paid tribute to Denis after he died, by having a plaque in his honour installed in the hospital’s Sun Room — a project that the Muloins have supported as it has taken shape over the last few years.
Shortly after Denis’ death, that community and his parents started an annual ride in his name, raising money for the Foundation and the hospital’s palliative care department. This year’s ride raised close to $3,000, they said.
Doreen added while the Saan Pen Hospital is a smaller hospital, it is needed.
“It is our hospital,” she said. “We live here.”
“We didn’t realize it until we came here (26 years ago) there were rumours that they were doing away with it by the government,” Maurice said.
“We won’t lose it now,” Doreen added and they said that’s because there are too many people involved in the hospital today, to let that happen.
The Foundation plays a big role in keeping it that way. In 2016 and ‘17, they raised more than $4.4 million in donations and events — investing more than $3.3 million back into the hospital.
In recent years, they also contributed to the renovation of the hospital’s two palliative care rooms, making them brighter spaces for residents who are at the end of their lives.
The Oct. 14 Gala event will feature a red and white theme among the guests and Canadian entertainment, in recognition of the country’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.
To find out more, or to get tickets, visit www.sphf.ca.