May 24th, 2024

Raymond Hospital Auxiliary needs help raising money for ER equipment

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on May 9, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

The Raymond Hospital Auxiliary isn’t a big organization, but it’s accomplishing big things.
In fact, the auxiliary, with only about 13 volunteers, is striving to raise as much as $100,000 to help equip the hospital’s emergency department, which is scheduled for renovations and upgrading later this year.
Fundraising for the ER began last year, and it’s continuing this year with its annual May luncheon and raffle. That event is set to go Friday at the town’s agriculture building, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m people can enjoy soup and sandwiches, squares, drinks, a bake and craft sale, and, of course, the raffle, of which the winning tickets will be drawn at 1 p.m.
“So we’ll be selling tickets right up until the draw,” says auxiliary treasurer Pauline Quaghebeur.
With only about 80 per cent of the tickets sold as of Wednesday – 1,000 were printed – the auxiliary urges people to help support the auxiliary and hospital by purchasing the $5 tickets, which will be available today at the hospital and Friday during the luncheon.
The first prize will be a $600 gift certificate to the Raymond Mercantile, and second prize is a $400 gift certificate to the Mercantile.
Quaghebeur says volunteers and donors are the lifeblood of the organization, and make it possible to secure hospital equipment not provided by Alberta Health Services.
“AHS says yeah you can  have it, but it’s not in our budget,” Quaghebeur says. “It’s an approved piece of equipment, but it’s only a nice-to-have. So we buy these things because to the people and the patients coming through emerg, it’s not only nice, it’s nice you don’t have to then go to Lethbridge to get something done because we bought that little piece of equipment for here.”
Over the years the auxiliary has funded, among numerous other things, surgical headlamps, gel beds for long-term patients, a bicycle-powered wheelchair, a bladder scanner and wide wheelchairs.
The large-ticket items are purchased not only by money raised through the annual raffle and bake sale, but through the auxiliary’s major Christmas fundraiser. While the auxiliary hopes to raise about $4,000 through the luncheon and raffle, it raises about $30,000 a year during the Christmas season when it simply requests donations from the community.
“We’ve been collecting on that one for a little while, because it’s going to be about two years worth of fundraising to fund what we need for the expansion of the emergency room,” Quaghebeur says.
A small portion of money the auxiliary raises, about $1,000 a year, also provides small items for patients. Once a week auxiliary volunteers push a cart full of goodies and toiletries, and give them to patients throughout the hospital. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, hand cream, combs, floss, puzzle books, colouring books, playing cards, chapstick, toothpaste, razers, wet wipes and an assortment of yummy treats are all free. So is a nice visit and good conversation.
“It’s spending time with the patient. I like the conversation and the interesting people I meet.”
Past auxiliary president Cheri Phillips says even though volunteering with the organization isn’t a huge time commitment, additional volunteers would absolutely help.
“We are always looking for some younger people to come on,” Phillips says. She also notes that there is only one man on the auxiliary at the moment, although that number has been as high as three at one time. And members only meet once a month between September and May.
“So it’s not a big-time commitment. A lot of people like to do crafting things at home that we use in our craft sales and things like that, so we can always use more volunteers.”
Phillips adds the number of volunteers on the auxiliary has actually gotten smaller, and 13 members really isn’t enough.

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