Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation turns 20
March 29 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation, and their launch on March 29, 1999 signalled the start of a major movement to improve healthcare across the Southwest.
Over the ensuing two decades, the Foundation has been able to make great strides in their original stated goal of improving the quality of healthcare for the residents of Southwest Saskatchewan.
At the launch press conference back on March 29, 1999, foundation members spoke about the monumental task they were facing.
“Our Board is convinced that by working together for the enrichment of our healthcare, we will all be beneficiaries and Southwest Saskatchewan will once again take its role as a leader in rural healthcare,” then Foundation chairperson Joan Meyer said.
The initial board consisted of Joan Meyer, Tim Keene, Ted Poppet, Colleen Macbean, Dr. Malcolm Banks, Ron Heeg, Dave Parenteau, and John Penner.
And, 20 years later, the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation can reflect on a successful first two decades and look ahead to continued challenges into the future.
“It has been a really, really good 20 years!” admitted Foundation Executive Director Clay Thompson.
The Foundation has been instrumental in placing numerous pieces of equipment into various healthcare facilities across the Southwest, but their two largest projects were THE (Towards Healthcare Excellence) Campaign which added equipment and furnishings to the Cypress Regional Hospital, along with their large fundraising commitment to The Meadows. Both facilities are situated across from the Foundation offices on Saskatchewan Drive, and their visibility is a constant reminder to Thompson and his staff of the importance of their fundraising efforts.
“I drive to work every morning and look across the street, and to me personally it means a lot.”
Thompson also has a chance to hear numerous testimonials from patients and healthcare professionals about the importance of having the best equipment possible in the hospital.
“That is what brings me to work every day is those types of stories. The fact that we’ve played a part in that means a lot to me. I’m proud of that. I know the Board of Directors is proud of it, and I think they should be. Actually the community itself should be proud of that, because that isn’t there unless donors come in and write a cheque. That stuff doesn’t get done.”
“Our donors should give themselves a pat on the back because they made it happen. We facilitated it, but they made it happen.”
The Foundation will be hosting a Donor Appreciation Night on April 17 as part of their 20th annual General Meeting. After their annual meeting there will be a speech by Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone, followed by tours of the Cypress Regional Hospital to showcase the technology changes made since 2010.
This tour will allow the Foundation show where donor support has gone over the past decade.
“We’ve done a lot of work and updating and refreshing technology over the last 10 years. And we want to show folks what that looks like.”
The tour will also remind donors of the importance of continuing to focussing on keeping the quality of Southwest healthcare the best it can be.
“We can’t stand still,” he said. “We’re going to encourage folks to continue to support us this year as they have in the previous 19 years. And at the end of the day we’re going to do some good. We’re going to buy some equipment that’s going to try and improve the quality of care that you get in Swift Current and in our rural spots.”