By Royal Proclamation, May 10, 2019 has been declared Healthcare Auxiliary Day in B.C. to recognize the 76 member auxiliaries of the British Columbia Association of Healthcare Auxiliaries. One of those members is the Ashcroft and District Health Care Auxiliary: have you ever wondered where the money they raise goes?
The Auxiliary was formed in 1913, only a few months after Ashcroft’s first hospital, the Lady Minto, was established. Since then the organization has raised millions of dollars to assist health care throughout the region. In the early days there were dances, teas, auctions, and social events, and in 1966 the Auxiliary opened a Thrift Store in Ashcroft. The store still operates; fittingly, in the building that once housed the Lady Minto Hospital at 601 Bancroft Street.
In 2018 the organization donated $35,431. As per their constitution, the purpose of the Auxiliary is to add to the comfort and welfare of hospital patients and/or residents, raise funds for health care purposes, and participate in activities designed to promote the general health of the community.
The group recently held its annual budget meeting, and the 14 members present agreed, by consensus, to donate to a number of organizations. In 2019, the contributions of local residents have helped make it possible for the Auxiliary to donate up to $47,500.
“It’s very similar to the amount we’ve disbursed in previous years,” says treasurer Shirley Holowchuk, with president Kitty Murray noting that donations to the Thrift Store have been steady. “We’re doing well there; we have no complaints.”
The shop is open every Wednesday and Friday from noon to 4 p.m., and has a dropbox outside the door for after hours donations. Murray notes that there is a security camera at the site, and that they cannot accept furniture or appliances. “And the government has a list of things we can’t sell,” she adds, including stuffies with beams in them and window blinds with cords.
The lab, X-Ray department, emergency department, and Jackson House at the Ashcroft Hospital and Health Site give the Auxiliary “wish lists” of items they would like each year. Here is where the funds are going in 2019.
$3,000 to the Alzheimer Society of BC. The society helps people understand and live with dementia, and provides support for those looking after people with dementia. “We want to help make sure this valuable program continues locally to help community members succeed and simplify their lives while providing care for loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s.”
$8,500 for the Ashcroft and District Health Care Site. Staff at the Health Site make up wish lists, and the Auxiliary goes through them as a group and decides which items they will purchase on their behalf. “Recently we purchased the new lab blood draw chair, a tonometer for the ER which helps determine the pressure inside your eye, fleece booties for long term care residents to help prevent bedsores, and so much more.”
$2,000 to the Ashcroft District Hospice Program. “Our Hospice volunteers work tirelessly to aid our community members going through end of life to have a comfortable and dignified journey right here in our own community. The Hospice Room at the Health Site has recently undergone some amazing renovations to make it more welcoming and comforting for patients and family members alike.”
$1,500 to BC Children’s Hospital, which is a full medical facility, as well as a teaching and research facility.
$1,000 to Better at Home (Ashcroft/Cache Creek). The program helps seniors stay independent in their homes for as long as possible by providing several services, including light housekeeping, volunteer drivers, and friendly visits. “We all want to be able to stay independent for as long as possible!”
$5,000 in bursaries, which are open to any student from School District No. 74 in any health care program, whether it is studying to be a doctor, a dental hygienist, a registered massage therapist, or anything in between. “We want to help you help us! If you or someone you know is currently in a health care-related course of study, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on applying for a bursary.”
$1,000 to JoeAnna’s House in Kelowna. When complete, this facility will provide short term accommodation for family members whose loved ones need to receive life-saving specialist care at Kelowna General Hospital. “We all feel better when we aren’t alone, and JoeAnna’s House helps to remove some of the obstacles to this.”
$3,500 for Marjorie Willoughby Snowden Memorial Hospice Home in Kamloops, which only receives 50 per cent of its operating funds from Interior Health. “With our support, we are helping to maintain the building, rooms and services for our community members to be able to have dignity and comfort during their end of life journey.”
$3,000 to Ponderosa Lodge in Kamloops, which provides beds for residents waiting for a permanent bed in a long term care facility, as well convalescent and respite care. “If you or your loved ones need to be placed into care, Ponderosa Lodge may be the place you go.”
$11,000 to the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation, because many community members need the services offered by RIH. “We all wish health care was different in our area, but this is our reality, and we are working hard to make sure RIH has the best services and equipment they possibly can in order to help us all in our times of need.”
$1,000 to Southern Interior Rotary House in Kelowna, which offers a safe, supportive, and reasonably priced lodge for cancer patients while they are accessing treatment at the Cancer Centre. Whenever possible, loved ones can stay with guests and have access to services including Freemason drivers for medical appointments, as well as to and from the lodge for out of town guests, the Look Good Feel Better program, cancer information, and a wig and breast prosthesis bank.
$1,000 to The Equality Project in Cache Creek. Their mission is to provide low income people with wholesome food, basic essentials, and encouragement, and to help provide a way for them to make and sell products. “They provide a hot meal for members three days a week, and we also donate our excess clothing items when we can to this wonderful group.”
$2,000 to The South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry Society in Ashcroft. The society provides services that support, educate, and encourage individuals to empower themselves to make positive choices for themselves and their families.
$1,000 for The Terry Fox Foundation. “We all want to help support their ongoing research to end cancer.”
$2,000 for Thompson View Lodge, which provides assisted living units for seniors and persons with disabilities right in Ashcroft. “We help the Lodge provide extra entertainment and activities for the residents, such as special visits with Santa, tea socials, and many different, fun, and interesting activities.”
$1,000 to Variety, the children’s charity. “We donate annually to the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon to help support them in all the wonderful ways they help support children in B.C. with special needs. It’s what we are all passionate about!”