20th Anniversary is a busy year

The Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation has launched two new campaigns to raise funds for healthcare in southwest Saskatchewan.

One campaign will raise funds for upgrades at the renal dialysis unit at the Cypress Regional Hospital and the other fundraiser will assist the mental health unit at the same hospital.

Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Jim Dekowny noted the renal dialysis unit provides important treatment to patients in the southwest and up-to-date equipment is required.

“There are some needs there for that with regard to chairs and equipment,” he said.

The fundraising goal is around $42,000. The Foundation is starting the campaign with the Keeping Healthcare Strong Golf Draft, which will give participants an opportunity to win prize money.

Draft participants can win a first prize of $500, a second prize of $300 and a third prize of $200. The golf pool draft winners will be determined by the performance of their selected players and the total money they earn in the PGA championship at TPC Harding Park from Aug. 6-9.

The entry fee for golf pool draft participants is $30 per entry or three entries for $70. Entries must be received on or before Aug. 1. Entry cards are available from Urban Cellars at 915 Central Avenue North in Swift Current, the Elmwood Golf Club, or the Healthcare Foundation office at 2051 Saskatchewan Drive in Swift Current. The entry card is also available on the Foundation’s website.

This is the first time the Healthcare Foundation is holding a golf pool draft for a campaign and it is part of ongoing efforts to look at new ways to raise funds for healthcare in southwest Saskatchewan

“We're going to try a lot of things, because we don't know what's going to work and what's not going to work,” he said.

The Foundation held a successful NHL playoff hockey draft for several years. This draft was done during a supper event. Dekowny is hoping to have a virtual draft that will also raise funds for the renal dialysis unit if the NHL is able to organize a playoff series for 2020.

The Foundation’s 2020 Charity Golf Classic is scheduled to take place on Sept. 11 at the Elmwood golf course. Funds raised at this event will go towards the renal dialysis unit campaign. Details for this tournament are being finalized and they are considering different format options to accommodate public health requirements with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign for the mental health unit at the Cypress Regional Hospital will help to fund urgent and growing needs for mental health support due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID and the stress and the things that have happened throughout the last little bit has put a toll on a lot of people and the mental health unit at the hospital has some needs,” he said.

This format of this fundraiser will be another first for the Foundation, because it will be done as a GoFundMe campaign.

“We've never done anything like this before,” he said. “We've been talking about it as a group and as a board for quite a while now, and I think with COVID it's time for us to find different ways. You know, having 250 people at the golf course or at the Living Sky Casino doesn't happen anymore or it's not going to happen for a while anymore and I think it's important for us to find a different way.”

The fundraising goal for this campaign is $9,500 and it received a major boost with a donation of $5,000 from the Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company. It only leaves another $4.500 to reach the goal and Dekowny said it is a crucial fundraiser for the wellbeing of southwest residents.

One in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness each year and a similar need for mental health support exists in southwest Saskatchewan. The mental health unit at the Cypress Regional Hospital provides support to individuals who require acute or crisis mental health care, and stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can cause an even higher need for these services.

The Foundation will therefore appreciate support from the community for this GoFundMe campaign for the mental health unit. Details about this campaign and how to donate can be found on the Foundation’s website and Facebook page.

The Foundation has also announced the successful completion of fundraising for the Close to the Heart digital mammography campaign.

This campaign will conclude with the Taste of the Arts event in Shaunavon at a future date that will still be determined.

In the meantime, the tendering process has already started to purchase a new digital mammography machine for the Cypress Regional Hospital.

Dekowny appreciates the support from the community for this campaign, which had a very large fundraising goal of $350,000. This made it possible to complete the campaign in 12 months and donors continued their support even during the pandemic.

Recent donations included $20,000 from Len and Evelyn Stein, $5,000 from the Shaunavon Legion poppy fund, and $10,000 from the G. Murray and Edna Forbes Foundation Fund, which was awarded through the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation. Dekowny expressed heartfelt appreciation towards the Hutterite colonies in southwest Saskatchewan for supporting this campaign with about $120,000 in total donations.

“The campaign has been good,” he said. “To me it's a testament to the people in the southwest and their ability to just still continue to help us raise money.”

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