The Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary had yet another banner year in 2017 after being nominated for a philanthropy award and contributing over $266,000 towards health and wellness equipment, projects and services all benefiting local residents.
Six days a week, patrons to the Thrift Store on 1st Avenue can see some of the 138 volunteers who oversee everything from sorting to keeping the shelves stocked with items donated from the community.
“The people who do volunteer, some of them put in more hours than they probably do in a work week because we know where the money is going and we do a great job in recycling and keeping stuff out of the landfills,” said LHA president Pam Fraser.
Gross income from the store was approximately $470,000 in 2017 and sales contributed $340,000 towards the LHA coffers.
However, the real story is the $266,724.03 that flowed back into the community as well as other organizations and services that are accessed by residents.
Ladysmith Community Health Centre was the largest recipient accounting for $143,526.
“The impact of the donations that we have received from the Auxiliary dramatically improves the care for all those who come to the Ladysmith Community Health Centre be it in the Urgent Care, Lab, Xray, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy or from our Community Health Services team (Home Care Nursing, Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy),” said Sue Kurucz, manager at the local health centre.
Among the larger items purchased from funds donated by the LHA was a portable ultrasound machine.
X-ray technician Lisa Burness sang the LHA’s praises because of an X-ray chair that’s making a big difference in her work.
“I have used it a lot already and it makes life much more comfortable for those needing imaging who cannot stand for extended purposes. It is so versatile that I can get exceptional imaging in a safe manner,” she said.
“Before, patients may have had to lie down for this imaging, due to safety concerns. Having this chair has meant I can image those patients sitting now, which is less time consuming and honestly more comfortable for our patients.”
The health centre was also able to purchase several broselow kits – a colour coded system that rapidly identifies and provides correct medication and equipment sizes needed for pediatric care.
“In it is all the emergency supplies of an infant of that weight,” Fraser said. “Kids, their conditioning can change on a dime, and you want to have everything handy right there so you can deal with a child in distress immediately.”
Among the other contribution highlights in 2017 were:
– $28,000 to the Cowichan Valley Hospice Society for hospice care and a feasibility study toward a new hospice care facility to be build in Duncan that will also benefit Ladysmith residents;
– $10,000 to the Nanaimo Child Development Centre, for supplies and equipment;
– $18,746 to the Victoria Hospital Foundation for portable ventilators;
– $30,000 to the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association to support a variety of services and programs.
Having received $100,000 in funding from the LHA over a four year period, BC Children’s Hospital appropriately nominated the LHA for an award last year presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Vancouver Island Chapter.
The LHA was named as one of the two finalists along with the Royal Jubilee Hospital Auxiliary.
There are currently 216 members of the LHA, volunteering in various capacities outside the Thrift Store such as, but not limited to Meals-on-Wheels, the gift shop (also a source of revenue for the LHA) at the health centre as well as maintaining the Memorial Gardens.
In total, these tireless efforts add up to roughly 34,000 hours worked by LHA volunteers last year.
The LHA also provides a very special gift to the town’s youngest and tiniest residents.
“It’s our pleasure to meet most of the new moms and babies born in our area,” said public health nurse Dawn Booth. “The (Auxiliary) helps us make those connections by providing baby layettes for every new baby born in Ladysmith.”
In 2017, The LHA also recognized many longterm members who have contributed over 10 years of service, including:
– 50 years of service for Wilma Wickham
-45 years of service – Pennie Davis;
– 25 years of service – Gwen Blanchette, Cora Maier, Dolly Williams;
– 20 years of service – Marie Polachek, Dori Magee;
– 15 years – Jan Bradshaw, Susan Brown, Merle Cram, Grace Saukko; and
– 10 years – Fran Bafaro, Joan Bafaro, Marlene Callander, Wendy Chapman, Cecile Edes, Anne Kerr, Ron Kinney, Keith Ling, Grace McNab, Shirley Somerville, Marlene Volden.