Thanks to a sizeable donation from the curler-driven Sandra Schmirler Foundation, the Victoria Hospitals Foundation is well on its way to raising the $120,000 it needs to buy three neonatal incubators for Victoria General Hospital.
An all-day radiothon held last week at the Hotel Grand Pacific brought in $107,771 in donations.
Event organizers hoped the buzz surrounding the 2013 Ford World Men’s Curling Championships, which wrapped up Sunday in Victoria, would help spur donations.
The late Sandra Schmirler was a three-time world women’s champion and four-time Scott Tournament of Hearts Canadian champion.
The Schmirler foundation chipped in $60,000 to the incubator funding drive, outpacing their previous two donations to the Victoria group of $24,000 in 2006 and $30,000 in 2009.
“We exclusively fund neonatal intensive care units,” said Chris Atchison, vice-chair of the Schmirler foundation. That point is reflected in the foundation’s slogan, “Champions start small.”
Grants go towards servicing the needs of critically ill or premature babies, he said.
Other large donations included $12,500 each from Telus and the Children’s Health Foundation, $10,000 from the Sidney Shriner’s Club No. 42, $5,000 from Peninsula Co-op and $1,000 each from the Royal Bank of Canada and Golf for Kids.
The Vancouver Island Health Authority determined the money would be raised for VGH after the hospital identified the need for new incubators as a priority.
“(The incubators) are expensive, highly technical units and are obviously important to these little guys’ lives,” says Rod Dewar, past-chair of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.
The three incubators will be used for an estimated 500 babies placed in the intensive care unit every year at VGH, out of a total of 3,000 delivered annually at the hospital.