Brooke Hodson

Lake auxiliary surprised with $3,500 donation

Patients at Cowichan District Hospital waiting for space in long-term care facilities will have

Patients at Cowichan District Hospital waiting for space in long-term care facilities will have their time in transition made much more comfortable thanks to some generous donations made to the Lake Hospital Auxiliary last weekend at the group’s annual fundraising event.

The second annual fashion show fundraiser on Saturday night in Lake Cowichan raised approximately $9,000. The Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative surprised guests and auxiliary members alike when it announced it was donating $3,500 to the auxiliary’s planned upgrades to the 2 Central ward at CDH.

Marge Anderson, auxiliary president, said she was blown away by the co-op’s donation.

“I was absolutely astounded and overwhelmed. I’m not often caught off guard but it took me a minute to pull myself together there,” she said. “I never dreamt that they would be so generous and we are so, so grateful to them.”

2 Central is a 10-bed ward for people waiting to go into long-term care facilities. These are individuals who can no longer live at home, and so must stay in the hospital until such time as a space can be found for them in a permanent location. Presently, the ward at CDH has few amenities for its occupants, who reside there for anywhere from three to 10 months while waiting for space elsewhere. For visiting family members and friends, there’s little more than a hard surface chair by the patient’s bed.

Thanks to the community forest co-op’s donation, the Lake Auxiliary will be able to change that.

Anderson said they plan to refurbish a visiting room for the ward with a leather or vinyl couch, a coffee table, new drapes, a TV and possibly a DVD player.

“We’ll make sure they get any of the red tape cut real quick and get going on it,” said Anderson. “We will consult with them about what they need and so on.”

Those changes to the room may not sound like much, but according to Allison Hoskins, manager at CDH for the medicine floor and 2 Central, they will actually go a long way.

“For the patients and the families, it’s huge. Just to have an area to sit and chat with your loved one instead of having to sit in a four-bed ward with other patients around,” she said, adding that the stimulation from such interaction or just from watching a TV is very important for health. “Those patients are the most needy as they’re the ones who are there the longest.”

Hoskins said this unit has been open for three years. Initially it was an overflow area, but now its where the long-term patients go.

“It’s been quite a long time that they’ve been without the extra resources that other areas of the hospital have,” she said.

Bruce Ingram, chairman of the co-op’s finance committee, said when Anderson explained what the funds would be going towards, it took “a nano second” to decide it was something he was going to bring to the board. “That really hit home. It really pulled on my heartstrings,” he said. “It took the board very little time to make a decision to give them $3,500 to get this ward off the ground.”’

When Anderson made her presentation to the community forest co-op, she told them they were hoping to raise $1,000 to $2,000, and that they would seek out sales for the items they needed. The board decided to go above and beyond that request.

“We said no, we’re going to give them ample funds so they don’t have to go out to sales, they can just go out, buy it, get going now,” Ingram said.

Saturday’s event was a fashion show in which volunteers modelled apparel from Fit For a Princess, Scarlett’s Second Hand Boutique, Fields and Neiser’s. It was a sold out show with more than 200 people in attendance, plus lots of volunteers. Jan Matthews in Overdrive provided entertainment, the Kinsmen ran the bar, and Ray Bishop gave a slideshow presentation.

The other major donation of the night was $1,000 from Superior Excavating’s Brent Arneson and Brent Anderson.