Esquimalt firefighters Andrew Zado and Chris Carragher crouch with Quinn Tyrrell

Firefighters give big to pediatrics at Victoria General Hospital

For her first breaths of life, Lucy Hannah had a hole in her lung. Wade McReynolds weighed two pounds when he saw the light of day as a preemie at 29 weeks. Victoria General Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit became home to their parents.

For her first breaths of life, Lucy Hannah had a hole in her lung. Wade McReynolds weighed two pounds when he saw the light of day as a preemie at 29 weeks. Victoria General Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit became home to their parents.

A year or a few years later, these kids and dozens of others run and play at the 27th annual NICU reunion at the hospital, as parents swap stories and give hugs to medical staff who saved their children’s lives. About 500 newborns per year go through the NICU.

“It was really hard at the time. The doctors and nurses were so helpful, they gave such good care,” said Katie Hannah, mother of one-year-old Lucy and her twin Emma. The girls were 33-week preemies.

“Nurses and moms really bond when you’re in there. It’s an intense time. When I see them I give them a big hug, and the doctors too.”

Nicole and Trevor McReynolds help two-year-old Wade blow bubbles at the outdoor party, and recalled a lot of tough hours and days at the NICU. Nicole’s water broke at 23 weeks and she had to lie still for six weeks before her son was born.

“They said the chances of him surviving and without problems was not good at all. But there’s nothing wrong with him,” Nicole said. “He’s as healthy as anything. He’s a real little miracle.”

These stories of survival and strength of the smallest patients highlighted the importance of a long term gift announced Thursday – professional firefighters in Greater Victoria are donating $25,000 per year for the next 10 years to VGH pediatric care.

Saanich, Victoria, Oak Bay and Esquimalt fire departments, under the Professional Firefighters of Greater Victoria Foundation, will direct their fundraising cash to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, which in turn will direct it to equipment in the NICU and pediatric unit.

“Sustainable funding is different for us. Pledging $250,000 over 10 years allows us to do planning around that. It’s fantastic,” said Starr McMichael, chair of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. “It also shows people in the community what can be done. These firefighters risk their lives everyday for us. They really have gone beyond the call of duty.

“It’s money well spent on saving the lives of the tiniest people.”

Saanich firefighter Jared Barker said aiming for $25,000 per year comes on the backs of firefighters who have established strong fundraising networks and events.

“We sat around and got an idea of what each department is capable of doing. The advantage we have as firefighter is that we have no hidden costs, this is done as volunteer work,” Barker said.

“We’re just blue collar guys who have got the opportunity to do this. We want to help Vancouver Island’s tiniest patients and their families. We are all thrilled to be working on such a critical project.”

The VGH pediatric unit delivers 2,700 babies per year and all hospital births in Greater Victoria. Ninety per cent of injured and sick children on Vancouver Island are treated at VGH.

The firefighter donation isn’t yet earmarked for anything specific in pediatrics, but it won’t take long for the doctors and staff to draw up wish lists. Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Brian Sinclair said the unit’s greatest challenge is the capital cost of new equipment – incubators, vital sign monitors and ventilators eventually need replacing.

“We know we’ll need equipment updates and new technology, and knowing this money is there is great,” Sinclair said. “When the need comes up, this contribution will be in the back of our minds.”

Neonatologist Dr. Cherrie Tan-Dy has her eye on updating the NICU family room, where aging furniture and a couple beds allow out-of-town parents to catch a few moments of rest.

“Some preemies require intensive care for a long time. Babies can be in the NICU for four months at a time,” Tan-Dy said. “Every year we want to improve the family room, but it’s always at the bottom of the list. Maybe this can help make it happen.”

For donate to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, see www.victoriahf.ca.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Just Posted

School strike: SD63 says grade 12 students ‘will not lose their graduation year’

Parents, students concerned about educational impact of CUPE 441 strike

Cineplex to show free holiday movies to support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Community Day will be on Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m at select theatres

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s second steel shipment arrives safely

The GVHA’s original shipment was lost at sea in December 2018

VicPD arrest one person after alleged assault in Victoria

Officers responded to the 1000-block of Pandora on Tuesday

Victoria police pilot e-tickets for its traffic division

Digitized tickets can now be paid for online

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Woman airlifted with serious injuries after being struck by car in Nanaimo

Woman, hit in crosswalk, suffers life-threatening injuries; driver co-operating with police

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

Most Read