Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation celebrates arrival of new CT scanner

Seeing the new CT scanner on the sidewalk awaiting its delivery into the Haliburton hospital was a memorable start to the work week for Melanie Koldt Wong.

The executive director of the Haliburton Highlands Health Services (HHHS) Foundation told kawarthaNOW the poignant moment for her represented a significant milestone in the foundation's "Here for You in the Highlands" fundraising campaign.

The CT scanner was delivered to the Haliburton site of HHHS at 7199 Gelert Road on Monday (June 17). Koldt Wong and others gathered to celebrate the arrival, along with news of a substantial donor-matching initiative for gifts made to the foundation's campaign.

"It was a momentous morning," Koldt Wong said.

"The HHHS Foundation has been involved in bringing this to Haliburton County for over a year, but for many it has been a lot longer. This equipment has been needed for a long time. What a wonderful day to start a matching campaign to ensure this wonderful and life-saving equipment is fully funded."

The campaign received a significant boost courtesy of a gift and a pledge from long-time hospital supporters Scott and Chere Campbell. The pair made an initial donation of $500,000, and have now committed to matching community donations to the campaign of up to $500,000.

"This campaign is very important to improve health services locally for full and part-time residents, so we wanted to support the campaign with a significant gift personally," said Scott Campbell in a media release.

"Our experience is that when people know their gift will be doubled with a match, it really encourages people to give. We also wanted to work with the foundation to make this matching opportunity available."

The HHHS Foundation is raising money to bring both CT and advanced mammography equipment to Haliburton County, along with other tools such as a new ultrasound unit and an upgrade of the Picture Archiving Communications System (PACS).

This equipment will significantly improve the quality and speed of access to diagnostic imaging services locally, the foundation said, noting it is an important step forward "in building a modern complement of health care services in the county."

"This is a real milestone for the foundation," said David Blodgett, chair of the HHHS Foundation, referring to the Campbells' donation. "When the matching portion is achieved, this will be the largest gift by individuals ever received by the foundation."

With the gift from the Campbells, the HHHS Foundation has reached 78 per cent of its $4.3-million goal. The HHHS Foundation will continue its Here for You campaign to raise money for additional needed technologies, such as a new x-ray suite.

While the provincial government provides operating funds to hospitals, it does not fund equipment or technology. Through their foundations, hospitals count on communities to raise the capital funds for new equipment.

"We are asking everyone across the county — full-time residents, part-time residents, cottagers, businesses, visitors — to open their hearts as the Campbells have done to contribute now," said Tayce Wakefield, lead volunteer for the Here for You campaign. "If we all give at the level that we can, we will raise the funds the HHHS team needs to enhance care for us all."

HHHS CEO Veronica Nelson said she hears from community members about "an overwhelming desire for better access to health services locally."

"We are profoundly grateful for the generous support from Scott and Chere Campbell," Nelson said. "We also need your support and appreciate every contribution to the enhancement of wellness and care at HHHS."

For more information about the fundraising campaign, visit the website at hhhs.ca/foundation.

The HHHS Foundation is an incorporated registered Canadian charity that financially supports the hospital and health care facilities in Haliburton County for capital projects, equipment, education programsm and community support services.

HHHS, in collaboration with community partners, strives to promote wellness and provide access to essential clinical programs including primary care, acute, inpatient and emergency care at the Haliburton hospital site, long-term care, end-of-life care, mental health and addictions services, physiotherapy, community support services for the residents, cottagers, and visitors of Haliburton County and the surrounding areas.

Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, KawarthaNOW