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Raising funds for more than equipment

Rick McLeod pops the hood on his chevelle to give (from left) Kayla Calhoun, Angee Calhoun, Michael McLeod, and T’Lea McLeod a peek. - Photo by Sean Janssen
Rick McLeod pops the hood on his chevelle to give (from left) Kayla Calhoun, Angee Calhoun, Michael McLeod, and T’Lea McLeod a peek.
— image credit: Photo by Sean Janssen

PAH Foundation also focuses on land acquisition

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Peace Arch Hospital and Community Health Foundation is probably best – and most simply – known as an organization that raises funds for enhancing equipment at Peace Arch Hospital and supporting health care initiatives throughout our community.

Indeed, we do a lot of this and buy about $2 million of specialized equipment for our hospital each year. However, in keeping with the tradition of our visionary predecessors, another of the Foundation’s lesser known activities is the acquisition of lands for future hospital expansion.

Setting the tone more than 50 years ago, resident Amy Weatherby donated the first parcel of land (5.5. acres), which, along with donations from the community, prompted the provincial government to agree to build the original 45-bed White Rock District Hospital.

The tradition continued when the former Hospital Society bought the Berkeley Building in 1967 for use as an extended care unit.

It also acquired additional land east of the hospital where the main parking lot is located, another 3.5 acres north of 16 Avenue where the staff parking lot is, as well as the land on which the Dr. Al Hogg Extended Care facility was built in 1996.

In 2005, the Foundation – able to act quickly thanks to community support, resourceful investments, the Win’Fall lottery and special events – bought more than an acre immediately west of the emergency department to allow for the possibility of future ER and hospital expansion.

This exciting purchase is in response to what the Foundation believes is our growing community’s greatest health need – access to emergency health.

Which brings us to perhaps the least known, but possibly the most important role of the Foundation – to influence the direction of health care in our community. Since its inception in 1988, the Foundation has raised more than $46 million toward specialized equipment and related health care initiatives and programs important to the residents of White Rock and South Surrey.

In addition to the recent land acquisition, which the Foundation hopes will provide an opportunity to substantially increase the capacity of our emergency department, a joint project underway will improve emergency room flow and bring 56 new acute care beds to Peace Arch Hospital by this time next year.

In 1992, using funds raised and donated by our community, the Foundation built two extra floors on top of the four floors authorized by the provincial Ministry of Health.

Recently, the Foundation offered to fund completion of these vacant floors if Fraser Health agreed to staff and operate them. An agreement was reached and as a result, the number of acute care beds at Peace Arch Hospital will rise from 150 to 206 beds. All departments of the hospital, particularly the emergency department, will benefit as there will be more beds for patients following their initial emergency room treatment.

It is the Foundation’s belief that when armed with donations from our community and by working closely with Fraser Health and the Ministry of Health, we will be able to continue to positively influence the provision of health care in White Rock and South Surrey.

This carries on a 50-year tradition of caring and vision for our future.

For information or to donate, call 604-535-4520 or visit www.peacearchhospital.com.

Sandy Wightman is chair of the board of directors for Peace Arch Hospital and Community Health Foundation.

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