BROCKTON – Representatives of the Walkerton and District Hospital Foundation attended the July 13 meeting of Brockton council to request support in the form of $50,000, to assist with the purchase of a new mammography machine.
The total cost of the machine is $485,000. The foundation has embarked on a major one-year fundraising campaign.
“The Walkerton and District Hospital Foundation is privileged to work with our local hospital to endeavor to acquire the most up to date equipment to keep the Walkerton Hospital current,” said Mark Gaynor, Walkerton and District Hospital Foundation chair, in a press release. “We thank our wonderful community for the support they continue to show us through our ongoing mammography campaign.”
Council expressed support for the project at the meeting. Staff were tasked with determining how to fund the donation, and the matter returned to council on Aug. 10 with the staff recommendation.
Although this financial request came too late for the 2021 budget, there have been changes in that budget due to COVID-19 that resulted in some funds becoming available in the amount of $10,000. The remainder of the donation will come from the 2022 budget, and possibly the 2023 budget. The foundation representatives were made aware of the timing of budget deliberations during discussion at the July meeting.
“I absolutely support this,” said Coun. Steve Adams.
Also expressing support were councillors Tim Elphick and James Lang.
“It’s a great initiative,” said Lang.
Over 2,000 mammograms are done annually at the Walkerton hospital.
The 2008 General Electric Seno Essential unit will be replaced with the Seno Pristina Digital Mammography System from GE Healthcare. The new machine features modern technologies that allow for potential program enhancement.
The press release stated the new equipment was ordered in July 2021 and is expected to be installed in September and operational in early October 2021.
Beginning Aug. 24, the mammography suite will be decommissioned so work can begin on enlarging the current space to accommodate the new equipment. During construction, mammograms will be scheduled for patients at South Bruce Grey Health Centre’s Kincardine site.
“We sincerely appreciate the ongoing support of the foundation and the community,” said Michael Barrett, CEO of South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC). “The foundation’s significant contribution to purchase a new mammography machine will ensure that SBGHC can continue to provide this important service for the Walkerton community and surrounding area.”
The Walkerton site of SBGHC is one of three Ontario Breast Screening Program locations in this area, along with Hanover and Kincardine.
The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to the need for the new unit – one in eight Canadian women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime; one in 33 of those women will die from the cancer.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times