Trees lit up outside NRGH (Submitted photo)

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital raising funds for new surgical suite

The new suite will reduce endoscopy wait times for residents from Ladysmith to Bowser

The Nanaimo Hospital Foundation is committed to raising $1.75 million to fight colon cancer with their 4th annual Light the Trees campaign.

Funds raised will go toward the construction of a new surgical suite at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH), which will be used predominantly for colonoscopies; a procedure for diagnosing colon cancer. The suite will also be used to conduct other endoscopic procedures like gastroscopies and bronchoscopies.

The new suite will reduce wait times for colonoscopies. Foundation CEO Janice Perrino, said that NRGH can currently conduct 30 colonoscopies a day, but the waitlist grows by about 50 patients a day. Perrino said there are about 3,500 people on the waitlist.

“And we know, out of the 3,500 that are waiting, one to two percent have cancer in their body right now, and we can’t even diagnose it,” Perrino said. “Whatever the case is, we need to get in there to see what’s going on. It’s a diagnostic procedure that is absolutely life and death.”

The provincial government will provide operational funding for the new surgical suite once it is built. That funding will go toward technicians, nursing staff, and doctors to use the room to full capacity. Perrino said there isn’t enough funding for the suite to be built without fundraising.

As funds come in, the Nanaimo Hospital Foundation will light trees around NRGH. The Nanaimo Hospital Foundation already has $750,000 of their goal, with $1 million left to raise. Donations can be accepted in to early February for the campaign.

“We will make sure that this hospital has what it needs. We can’t fail. We will keep fundraising until it comes in, because our citizens deserve the very best and we’re going to make sure they get it,” Perrino said.

Donations to the Light the Trees campaign can be made online at: nanaimohospitalfoundation.com/donate/

RELATED: Nanaimo hospital foundation trying to Light the Trees to combat colon cancer

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