Hospitals’ fundraiser hits $1 million

SUDBURY––It was smiles all around at an elegant wrap-up reception held at Verdecchio’s Ristorante in Sudbury, where a $50,000 donation from Lafarge Eastern Canada to the Manitoulin Health Centre’s (MHC) capital fundraising campaign was announced. The Lafarge Eastern Canada donation proved to be the icing on the cake to cap off the wildly successful campaign, pushing the tally over the $1 million mark.

“Lafarge is committed to building better cities and communities. Being an active partner where we live, work and raise our families is an important part of our values,” said Bob Cartmel, president and CEO of Lafarge Eastern Canada. “We are thrilled to be joining the Manitoulin Health Centre’s celebrations today and making a difference in the health services that the community will receive, including many Lafarge employees and their families living in the region.”

“Manitoulin Health Centre gratefully acknowledges this significant contribution from Lafarge Eastern Canada. Lafarge is an important partner in our Northern Ontario community and we are delighted to have their support for our cause,” said MHC CEO Derek Graham. “Thanks to the incredible generosity of contributors like Lafarge, we will be able to purchase new X-ray and ultrasound units, plus additional equipment for our radiology team such as enhanced software, a new bone densitometry unit and more.”

“I want to recognize today the wonderful support from individuals, businesses, municipalities, First Nations communities, our partners, the two auxiliaries, organizations and corporations,” said MHC board fundraising committee chair Angela Becks in opening the reception. “Three years ago, Manitoulin Health Centre began the journey with the fundraising campaign to raise $650,000 to replace, at both sites (Little Current and Mindemoya), aged diagnostic equipment. The conclusion to the radiology campaign will be celebrated today and your presence is appreciated.”

A school bus loaded with MHC staff travelled to Sudbury for the event, where they were joined by a significant number of Sudbury business representatives and Island municipal figures.

“This is a pretty good day,” said Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin as he joined Little Current business owners Bruce and Kelly O’Hare at a table during the reception. “This is a pretty good news story for the entire Island community. It really shows what can be accomplished when people pull together to make things happen.”

“These have been challenging years,” said Ms. Becks in introducing Mr. Graham to the audience. “Meeting the North East LHIN standards and expectations, responding to the changing needs of our communities, providing guidance to the board of directors, working effectively with the management team, managing a two-site rural hospital corporation and building partnerships that will ensure Manitoulin Health Centre’s future in healthcare in our communities. Derek worked creatively and tirelessly throughout the radiology campaign. He deserves many thanks for those efforts which helped to raise funds beyond the original target of $650,000.”

“It’s sort of humbling to stand here at the end of three years and to think back as to where we have been and what we have accomplished,” said Mr. Graham. “Today we welcome Lafarge to the MHC’s family of patrons. We sincerely appreciate their generous support.”

Mr. Graham noted that the core values of Lafarge are congruent with those of the MHC.

Mr. Graham noted that although the province supplies most of the funding for the operations of the health centre, that support does not include a dedicated stream to provide the kind of capital funds required to meet the centre’s needs for upgraded equipment. “We really had only two choices. One choice would have meant to try and take that out of our operations. That would have meant we would have had to have to downsize the care program. That just wasn’t an option of our board, so we launched a fundraising campaign,” he said. “Over the three years, an overwhelming response took place.”

Mr. Graham noted that from that launch leadership came forward, citing the initial investment of Manitoulin Transport’s Smith family.

Thanks to the incredible effort put forward by individuals, businesses, community groups, municipalities and First Nations communities and despite the incredible challenge faced by the hospital and those communities it serves, Mr. Graham said that he was pleased to announce that the initial goal of $650,000 has been surpassed to reach $1 million.

Although the final fundraising reception was being held in Sudbury, Mr. Graham noted that the board has plans to hold open houses at both of the MHC’s Island sites to showcase the equipment in the late spring or early summer. “The board expressed that they felt it was very important to recognize the incredible efforts put forward by Island residents and local families and organizations in making this effort a success,” he said.

Ms. Becks introduced MHC fundraising co-chair Jeff Wallace, recalling the support of his grandparents Mr. and Mrs. (Cliff) Fielding provided both professionally and personally in their support of structures and activities in Manitoulin communities.

“It is with the same sense of philanthropy that Jeff responded to when he and his cousin approached Manitoulin and the islands with a challenge. Fisher Wavy pledged to meet up to $50,000 any donations made over a period of time to support the radiology campaign,” said Ms. Becks. “Jeff, through his personal and corporate associations, was able to influence others and the response was overwhelming. That effort took the campaign over its target. Jeff’s passion to support health services on Manitoulin Island has resulted in new partnerships and new corporate friends that the Manitoulin Health Centre welcomes and pledges to nurture.”

“This has been such a remarkable opportunity for me throughout this campaign to work and be part of such an amazing team,” said Mr. Wallace. “Frankly, I just want to thank you. I want to thank each and every one of you. I think the group that has come together in the community, the service organizations, the board and the campaign committee, the enhanced participation from the business community has made this possible. I am proud to be part of it.”

Mr. Wallace applauded the efforts of Ms. Becks and the entire MHC team for their work as well.

Michael Erskine