There aren’t very many areas in Ladysmith that haven’t been touched in one way or another by funding and support from the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary.
From the Ladysmith Community Health Centre and the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association to Ladysmith Secondary School and Ladysmith Parks, Recreation and Culture, the money raised by the auxiliary has a lot of impact on community members young and old.
And the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary members recently realized just how big that impact has been over the years when the auxiliary surpassed the $4 million mark in donations provided to the community.
This milestone comes at a time when two of the auxiliary’s hardest working volunteers — president Lil Kroll and Thrift Shop manager Deb Drysdale — are stepping down at the end of their two-year terms, explained public relations director Sandra Dall.
“It’s a good time to say thanks for the hundreds of hours they put in,” she said. “It’s just mind-boggling, the amount of work they do.”
Since its inception in 1909, the auxiliary has donated more than $4 million to the community. Last year, the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary had the third-highest donations in the entire province, according to Dall. The auxiliary was also the top auxiliary for the number of Candy Stripers — which this year changed their names to Youth Workers.
The Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary is a non-profit charity with a mission to raise money for equipment to be donated for use in health care facilities; raise and donate money or equipment to other health-related projects or life-saving projects; to provide services and assistance to people in need of health care due to illness, injury, disease, aging or infirmity; to provide for upkeep of the Memorial Gardens at the Ladysmith Community Health Centre; generally, to do anything to assist health care facilities and home care providers to provide the best possible health care and comfort to patients and clients; and to promote community health and wellness by donations of money, equipment, assistance or education.
One hundred per cent of the net profits of the auxiliary are used for the benefit of the community.
Dall says the auxiliary raises the most of its money through the Thrift Store.
“We rely on donations from the community, and we’re very grateful for the support,” she said. “We would like to thank the community for their donations — we couldn’t do it without them.”
“We’re probably the best recyclers in town,” Dall added with a laugh. “We have members who fix things — they are just wizards and can do anything.”
The auxiliary also runs a gift shop in the Ladysmith Community Health Centre, but the bulk of the money the group raises comes from the Thrift Store, according to Dall.
“We have workers there seven days a week, including on Tuesday nights,” she said. “The workers there are just incredible. It’s a beehive of activity.”
The money raised by the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary goes right back into the community in the form of support for health-related projects, as well as bursaries for students who are pursuing careers in health-related fields.
Because Ladysmith doesn’t have an actual hospital, the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary donates funds to the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and the Cowichan District Hospital and even paid for a room in the new emergency ward at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital — and has made a similar donation at the Cowichan District Hospital in the past.
This year, the auxiliary has 245 volunteers, and 20 Youth Workers are volunteering.
To learn more about the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary, call 250-245-5225.