With a donation to the Upper River Valley Hospital Foundation, the Martin Kilfoil Memorial Fund continues a legacy that began more than three decades ago — supporting Upper St. John River Valley healthcare services.
In a brief ceremony on Aug. 31 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Kilfoil Fund representatives donated $9,000 to the hospital foundation’s $3.5 million MRI project.
The donation was the latest in the fund’s almost $100,000 delivered to the Upper River Valley Hospital since 2008.
Before URVH’s opening in Waterville, the Martin Kilfoil Memorial Fund spent two decades providing financial support to the former Northern Carleton Hospital in Bath.
With close ties to the Martin Kilfoil Memorial Fund board members, Susan Lockhart represented the foundation at the donation presentation. She stressed the importance of such donations to the foundation’s efforts to meet the $3.5 million goal to install the state-of-the-art MRI at the Waterville Hospital.
Stephen explained his brother Martin died in 1988 from injuries sustained in a car accident in Ontario. He said Martin died in the Bath hospital only a day after being air-transferred closer to his Johnville family home with the help of the McCain company jet.
The following year, his mother, Anne Kilfoil, established the fund in Martin’s memory.
Stephen said family friends and neighbours Cecelia Boyd and Frances Cullen helped his mother establish the charity.
In the early days, he explained, the three women, with support from the community, raised most of the fund’s money in support of the Bath hospital through rummage and bake sales.
“They did a lot of the heavy lifting,” Stephen recalled.
All three founding members are now gone, but the fund has grown and expanded upon the foundation they laid.
Stephen explained Cullen died several years ago, and he lost his mother in 2019. They lost Boyd earlier this summer.
Cullen’s daughter Patricia Brennan is a Martin Kilfoil Memorial Fund board member.
Stephen said after returning home to Carleton North, he joined the Kilfoil Fund as a board member and treasurer in 2014. He later became the board chair.
Stephen said the well-established fund now raises most of its funds through donations, most of which come through donations at wakes and funerals.
Other board members joining Stephen at the Knights of Columbus were Susan McLaughlin, Alma Kilfoil, Joe Brennan, Dr. Colin Lockhart and Dr. Bruce Lockhart.
Susan Lockhart said the foundation will soon update its fundraising progress for the MRI project, but it already sits close to $2.3 million.
The foundation has already purchased the modern 1.5 Tesla MRI. The next step is erecting the modular building attached to the hospital to house the unit.
The new MRI unit will replace the aging portable unit shared with the Campbellton hospital.
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun