The 13th annual Give A Little Life Day radiothon for the Victoria Hospital Foundation's campaign for a new improved neontal unit was well underway in Prince Albert Friday.
By 10 a.m. just over $313,000 had been raised in pledges and in-person donations as the on-air personalities of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group set up shop at the entrance to the hospital. This total represented one of the richest starts to the fundraiser in recent years.
In fact, as this video shows, they may not be doctors, but you can trust them when they say how important it is to donate today.
Mother's recollection highlights need for better neonatal space .
“I was just shocked …I just bawled.”
That was the reaction of a Prince Albert mother when she entered the badly-cramped neonatal space at the Victoria Hospital a few years ago to see her sick newborn. Her child, Kasey, had just been transferred from RUH in Saskatoon, having spent the first few weeks of his life there.
“There were so many babies in the room and babies constantly being born,” Genean Beskal told paNOW. “There were sick babies, new babies, older babies, those without parents; every single scenario that you can imagine was all put into that 350-square-feet space.”
Beskal said having just seen her son receive treatment in the larger dedicated space at RUH, the reality of the conditions facing the medical professionals in the P.A. unit was all too much.
“I remember the nurses coming up to me and saying ‘are you so happy to be home?’, and I just bawled and I said ‘no’, it was crazy,” Beskal said.
Beskal would have her second child, Bo, a few years later and he too would need special care at the Victoria Hospital but at least she was prepared this time for the challenging reality of seeing staff working every day in a space barely the size of a double garage. The area has been described as both a broom closet and a telephone booth. But Beskal noted while the space is tiny, the professionalism shown by the staff is huge.
“Our doctors are amazing, and it sure took the stress off me getting to know them all while I was there with my babies,” she said.
The community in and around Prince Albert will be able to do something about the inadequate neonatal situationFriday.
That’s when the Victoria Hospital Foundation runs the 13th annual Give-A-Little-Life Day Radiothon in conjunction with the three Jim Pattison Broadcast Group stations: 900 CKBI, XFM and Power 99 FM. The stations, along with their well-known on-air personalities, will broadcast live from the lobby of the Vic from 6 a.m. through 6 p.m. and kick-off the multi-year campaign to raise $2.2 million to expand and upgrade the hospital’s Level 2 Neonatal Unit.
The new unit will see the end of the cramped area that the Hospital Foundation has described as lacking space and privacy for new moms, is noisy and chaotic, and where the crowded equipment can pose a safety risk.
The proposal is for 11 fully equipped baby bays with warmers, incubators, medical gases and monitors. The current space is designed to handle just four babies although it often exceeds that. Each new baby bay will have a pullout bed and chair for mom.
“Babies are life, they’re what keeps our community going,” Beskal said. “I think it’s the most important department in our hospital.”
The community is invited to drop by the hospital Friday to drop off a donation or, of course, to make a pledge and to stay tuned to the Give-A-Little-Life Day Radiothon all day.
Pledges can be made online at helpthevic.ca or by calling call 1-855-816-LIFE.
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