A truly in­spir­ing evening in Goderich

The Goderich Signal-Star - - Opinion -

The AMGH Foun­da­tion hosted a gala, Satur­day Oc­to­ber 21, in sup­port of the men­tal health ser­vices pro­vided at the Alexan­dra Ma­rine and Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.

Once the hall filled up, guests were in­vited to take their seats and were wel­comed to the event by Shawn Lynn, Chair of the AMGH Foun­da­tion.

Shawn shared with the au­di­ence one of the first things he learned when he joined the Foun­da­tion Board.

“When I joined the Foun­da­tion’s Board of Di­rec­tors three years ago, I was un­der the mis­taken be­lief that the Foun­da­tion raised funds for the ”ex­tras“that the Hos­pi­tal needed. I was shocked to dis­cover the amount of nec­es­sary pa­tient care equip­ment that was re­quired be­yond what the Hos­pi­tal re­ceived gov­ern­ment fund­ing for,” Shawn said. “Our men­tal health unit is a great ex­am­ple it is a 20-bed in­pa­tient fa­cil­ity, but the ac­tual beds needed for pa­tients are funded by the Foun­da­tion. Ex­am­ples like this can be found all over our hos­pi­tal not of ex­tras but of items that are re­quired to pro­vide safe, qual­ity health care.”

Funds raised from Satur­day’s event will go di­rectly to en­hance­ments and up­grades to the in­pa­tient men­tal health unit, fo­cused on cre­at­ing a safe en­vi­ron­ment for pa­tients, fam­i­lies and vis­i­tors, and health care providers, which is more con­ducive to heal­ing and pos­i­tive pa­tient out­comes. Fol­low­ing din­ner, Dr. Patrick Con­lon, Chief of Psy­chi­a­try and Chief of Staff at AMGH, shared some in­for­ma­tion about the vi­tal men­tal health and ad­dic­tion ser­vices avail­able in Huron County and the need to fund the re­quired en­hance­ments to bet­ter meet the grow­ing needs of our com­mu­nity. Dr. Con­lon then wel­comed, and turned the stage over to, spe­cial guest Mar­garet Trudeau. Mar­garet Trudeau en­gaged the au­di­ence as she spent an hour shar­ing her life story. From her up­bring­ing, to her mar­riage to Pierre Trudeau, rais­ing her sons, and where she is in her life now. Through­out the talk, Mar­garet opened up about how her men­tal health is­sues pre­sented them­selves through­out the years, how those is­sues were han­dled at the time, and how she came to un­der­stand her part in her own men­tal health care. While ad­dress­ing a very se­ri­ous sub­ject, and ed­u­cat­ing the au­di­ence on dif­fer­ent men­tal health is­sues and their mul­ti­ple causes or indicators, Mar­garet was able to laugh at her own ex­pe­ri­ences and had the crowd laugh­ing as well.

Mar­garet spent over an hour sign­ing copies of her book, Chang­ing My Mind, avail­able for pur­chase at the event by Fincher’s. She took the time to chat with each guest who lined up to see her, signed their book, took pho­tos, and gave hugs.

Her gen­uine kind­ness and warmth was felt by ev­ery­one. She thanked guests who took the time to share their sto­ries with her as well, and was par­tic­u­larly de­lighted by a 93-year old guest who brought pho­tos with her of when she had met Pierre Trudeau.

The evening con­cluded with a live auc­tion con­ducted by Ben Lobb, with the help of Glen McNeil en­gag­ing bid­ders, which fea­tured items do­nated by lo­cal busi­nesses, the AMGH Board and physi­cians, and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

“There are just too many peo­ple to thank for mak­ing tonight such a suc­cess,” shared Shan­non LaHay, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the AMGH Foun­da­tion. “Ev­ery­one who had a part in this evening, from spon­sors and donors, to those who pur­chased tick­ets for the evening and the vol­un­teers, each one of them demon­strated a com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing qual­ity men­tal health care in our com­mu­nity.”

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