Wednesday, 30 October 2013 15:02

Celebration of Greek culture in Swift Current continues to support health care

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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The combination of Greek cuisine, traditional dancing, the sounds of a bouzouki and good company continues to draw a large crowd to an annual fundraiser in Swift Current in support of health care.

That was again the case during the 15th annual Night Out in Greece dinner and dance at the Swift Current Legion Hall, Oct. 26.
The fundraising event, which is organized each October by Swift Current’s Greek community, has brought in more than $700,000 for the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation since 1998.
According to Rene Kalousis, who is a member of the organizing committee, the Greek Orthodox community in the city numbers about 35 people.
“It’s a lot of work, but we make it work,” she said about arranging the event. “We just push ourselves.”
The initial event was organized after many people were asking to have a Greek party.
“Then they decided between the four older men to start a Greek night and then to give back to the community, but also as a party,” she explained.
The funds raised from that initial party was used to purchase the first dialysis machine for use in Swift Current.
“They decided to purchase it with our first Greek night so people weren’t driving to Regina,” she said. “They had a couple of friends that were on dialysis too, so they thought that was a great donation.”
The Greek community’s support for health care is evident during a visit to the new Cypress Regional Hospital, where the cardio pulmonary department has been named after the Swift Current Greek Orthodox community.
“We just want to say thank you to everyone who has attended throughout the 15 years and who has supported us and keep supporting us because we all need health care and some time or other we’re in the hospital,” Kalousis said.
This was the fourth year  Clay Thompson attended Night in Greece in his capacity as the executive director of the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation.
“Health care in southwest Saskatchewan is a whole lot better because of the Greek Orthodox community,” he said.
Prior to this year’s event he was asked to compile a list of medical equipment purchased with funds raised through Night in Greece over the past 14 years.
“I really couldn’t do it because there’s been so much of it,” he said. “There are all kinds of beds, monitors, diagnostic equipment, Broda chairs, equipment for long-term care and equipment for the hospital.”
In 2008 and 2009, the proceeds from Night Out in Greece were earmarked for the digital mammography unit at Cypress Regional Hospital. In 2010, the money was used to purchase some new equipment for the operating theatre, including a video laryngoscope.
Purchases from funds raised in 2011 include two vital signs monitors and five critical care beds for the regional hospital as well as four Broda chairs for the Swift Current Care Centre.
In 2012 the funds were used to purchase a bladder scanner for the Palliser Regional Care Centre and more beds for the Cypress Regional Hospital.
The funds from this year’s event will be used to purchase a new infant warmer for the maternity ward at the regional hospital.
According to Thompson, about 350 babies are born each year in Swift Current, which means up to 3,500 infants will benefit from this purchase during the 10-year lifespan of the warmer.
“This is a very important pieceof equipment and we’re really proud that we can work with the Greek community to have it put in place,” he said.
In addition to the funds generated for health care from a Night Out in Greece, the Foundation benefits from the fact the Greek community is doing all the arrangements in preparation for the event.
“They look after the entertainment, they look after the meal, they look after the hall rental, all those things and it’s fabulous,” he said. “It’s a partnership made in heaven, frankly.”

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