St. Joseph’s General Hospital Elliot Lake (SJGHEL) is about to embark on a $1-million fundraising campaign to improve oncology services provided at the hospital.
Hospital foundation member William Elliott was joined by board chairman Deborah Dubois Friday for the preliminary announcement of the planned fundraiser with details still to be worked out with the hospital board and foundation before it is officially launched.
“At our recent meeting we decided there’s some big projects that the hospital is looking at and we thought we need to get behind one of the big projects,” Elliott said. “The hospital hasn’t finalized all the details, but the foundation has decided that we’re going to support the oncology department. It requires a major upgrade in order to stay certified.”
The hospital services the area from Elliot Lake and along the North Shore and for the past year the foundation has been donating money raised through its monthly bingo for smaller projects.
The pair was joined by Cindy Restoule who received a cheque for $500 as an early bird winner in the foundation’s monthly 50-50 draw. Restoule immediately wrote out a cheque for half of her winnings and donated it to the fundraiser.
Elliott said he is confident the money will be raised based on successful fundraisers in the past three years that saw the hospital purchase a CT scanner and replace 54 hospital beds.
Like the scanner, Elliott said the goal to improve oncology services available at SJGHEL, is to give cancer patients an alternative to having to travel to Sudbury or Sault Ste. Marie for treatment.
The trip, which Elliott has taken with a patient, can be difficult for a person suffering from cancer and dangerous in winter weather. Some 500 people are treated each year and upgrading the service here would allow for five additional treatments each day.
Elliott said there has been an early indication of a $200,000 donation for the oncology department upgrade but declined to reveal who the donor is until an official launch for the project is done, possibly in late February or early March.
Elliott said the hospital administration believes the province would make a donation to the project, but the contribution is not expected to be large enough to make a significant dent in the estimated fundraising goal of $1-million.
The upgrade would also allow the hospital to hire technicians to do the work needed, freeing up nurses now doing the work to get back to regular nursing duties, according to Elliott.
Money raised from the monthly draw will go to the fundraiser and people can purchase tickets online at www.sjhfound5050.ca.
This month the deadline to purchase is Jan. 30 at 11:59 p.m. The draw will take place Jan. 31 at 11 a.m.
Up until the day prior to the draw, people who don’t have access to a computer can go to the ELNOS office between 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. to purchase tickets using card payment or Visa debit.
Tickets are $10 for 10 tickets, $20 for 40 tickets and $40 for 100 tickets.
Every month there is an early-bird draw for $500. The early-bird draw is the second Thursday of the month with the deadline being at 11:59 p.m. the day before the draw.
In the past, the foundation has used the funds raised to purchase the CT scanner, purchase new beds for the hospital and more recently to buy equipment for the ER, ICU, Lab and Obs units.