Radiothon raises large amount in support of healthcare
Generous donations from the community and businesses during the 10th annual Pharmasave Radiothon for Healthcare assisted the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation to raise enough money to purchase a digital portable X-ray machine for the Cypress Regional Hospital.
The 15-hour live broadcast from the atrium of the Cypress Regional Hospital in Swift Current on Nov. 1 and 2 raised a total of $171,813.
Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Clay Thompson noted this year's total was only exceeded by the amount raised during the inaugural Radiothon.
“We enjoy doing this program every year,” he said. “It takes a lot of time and effort to organize it and coordinate it with the radio station and media and so on and then it’s a matter of getting the message out to the public. I think this year our message was solid. The piece of equipment we're looking at funding is needed. I think it's relevant, I think it's life-saving, and whenever you can put that combination together it makes it go pretty easily.”
He got some sense of people's thoughts about the healthcare equipment that will be funded by this year's campaign when he spoke to individuals who dropped off donations at the hospital.
“I don’t think I had one person that didn’t say this is a piece of equipment that’s needed in Swift Current and good on you guys for trying to find the money to make it happen,” he said. “We had a goal of putting some lifesaving equipment in place and people just agreed and they made it happen for us.”
The Healthcare Foundation set a goal of $150,000 for the 2018 Radiothon. The total was not only higher, but the final amount might still increase a bit more as some last minute donations are received.
“There’s some people who’ve dropped cheques in the mail and so on,” he said. “They didn’t bother to phone in, but they’re contributing to the cause. We generally get about 10 per cent more than what we announce.”
Some large donations and corporate support helped to make a difference and to keep the total going upwards during the Radiothon. The Kinsmen Foundation made a donation of $50,000.
“Kinsmen and Kinettes work really, really hard every year on their Telemiracle and they are always looking for opportunities and ways to support their communities’ greatest needs, and thank goodness they felt that this was one of the ways they could do that this year,,” he said. “We’ll certainly take advantage of that and we’ll have our new equipment in place I hope by the end of the year.”
The Bank of Montreal made a commitment to match donations to a maximum of $25,000 and Thompson felt it made a difference to other donors who realized their amount will now have double the value.
“The Bank of Montreal matching gift program is one of the programs that we’ve been trying to get going a little bit,” he said. “Other healthcare foundations in other places had good success with that matching program, and we’ve been trying to set one up for the right occasion over the last two, three years. We approached BMO and they said let’s give that a shot, and did that ever come through loud and clear.”
The price of a digital portable X-ray machine can range anywhere between $150,000 and $200,000 depending on specifications of different models. The funds raised during the Radiothon should be sufficient to purchase the machine that the hospital wants, and any leftover money will be used to buy a bladder scanner.
“It’s become standard protocol for use on the wards if there’s problems through the night with a patient,” he said about the scanner. “But we’ve got to make sure this one works out the way it’s suppose to first, and if there happens to be that surplus funds, that’s what we’re going to use it for.”
Donna Wotherspoon, the regional medical imaging manager for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said the digital portable X-ray machine represents the best technology available to healthcare staff.
“This is a digital technology, which means our image will show up on a monitor that’s attached right to the portable X-ray machine,” she explained. “So we will have the image at the bedside. Currently we have to take the image, take our plate down to the department, put it through our machine and get the image. Now you’ll be able to get the image right at the bedside. So if the doctor is standing right beside the bedside they can see the image, they can treat the patient right away. It’s about 30 second for the image to come up at the bedside.”
The almost immediate availability of these images can make a real difference when certain medical procedures are being carried out by physicians in the hospital.
“We do line placements,” she said. “So at the bedside we can see where the line is. If it isn’t exactly where they want it to be they could advance it, we could do another picture and they would know right away that they’re in the correct place.”
She expressed appreciation for the overwhelming support from the community in the entire southwest region for the Radiothon.
“We’re grateful that it allows us the ability to stay current with the technologies in the province, because they have digital portables in some of the other facilities,” she said. “We want to offer that to our patients – the best technology that’s out there, the best imaging that’s out there, and this is just one of the examples of the type of imaging that’s out there and that we can use.”
Above: The two-day Radiothon broadcast took place from the atrium of the Cypress Regional Hospital. Above right: Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation board member Craig Ekstrand records a donation from a caller during the Radiothon, Nov. 2.
Radio announcer Glenda-Lee Vossler conducts an on-air interview with Donna Wotherspoon, the regional medical imaging manager for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Nov. 2.
The fundraising total is displayed at the end of the two-day Radiothon. From left to right, Clay Thompson (Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation), Donna Wotherspoon (Saskatchewan Health Authority).
Above: Leanne Tuntland-Wiebe of Great West Auto Electric presented a $1,000 cheque to Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Clay Thompson. The donation was on behalf of employees and the Wiebe family, and the company has supported the Radiothon every year since it started 10 years ago.