Though the goal is a big one, the annual Tree of Dreams campaign is off to a solid start.
This year, the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation is hoping to raise $632,000 through their annual Christmas campaign, to supply a shopping list of needs at Penticton Regional Hospital.
It’s a huge goal, and one that Janice Perrino, executive director of the foundation, worries that they will have to extend the Christmas campaign into the spring to meet. But thanks to some early donors, there is already $200,000 in the kitty.
The Penticton Hospital Auxiliary has stepped forward with a donation of $10,000, and the South Okanagan Health Care Auxiliary has chipped in $15,000. Then the Summerland Health Care Auxiliary added their donation of $145,000 for one of the items on the shopping list, a new operating room table and lights at the Summerland Health Centre.
“To date we have raised just over $200,000,” said Perrino.
She said that while there is a long way to go to reach the fundraising goal, this kind of start has them well on their way.
This is the seventh annual Tree of Dreams campaign, which Perrino said was started in response to rising costs of equipment and growing needs at the hospital.
“The needs were becoming so huge we couldn’t keep up with it. So we said this is where we have to expand and try to do more at Christmas where there are opportunities for people to give in a small but very meaningful way,” said Perrino. “It’s nice to be able to give it as a gift.”
The annual campaign has helped the foundation meet their prime goal of keeping the hospital up to date.
“This hospital is over 60 years old, there are always going to be needs here. But for as old as our hospital is, we have some of the best equipment around,” said Perrino. “We have one of the best MRI’s in the province. We were the first one to have a digital mammography machine, the first to have a digital CT scanner. It was all because of donated funds.”
That sort of excellence is key to the foundation’s mission, Perrino said, pointing out that the provincial government has massive costs just keeping the doors open and staff paid.
“As they cut back services, they cut back on equipment and we are not prepared to allow our community to have less than the very best,” said Perrino. “This foundation has been going for 30 years. We made the commitment back then that we were going to provide the best that we could to make sure our hospital had everything that it needed.”
Tree of Dreams brochures outlining this year’s campaign and the equipment they hope to purchase have already been delivered to every home and the first Christmas bulbs have already been lit on the Christmas tree on the roof of PRH.
If you would like more information or would like to make a donation, please visit the medical foundation, which is located in PRH, mail your donation in to 550 Carmi Ave., Penticton, B.C. V2A 3G6 or call 250-492-9027 or toll free at 1-866-771-0994.