Give a Little Life Day might not be until December 7, but one local entrepreneur has already given a lot.
Friday afternoon, The Victoria Hospital Foundation announced that Prince Albert Canadian Tire owner Malcolm Jenkins committed to donating $100,000 towards the foundation’s goal to expand and upgrade the hospital’s level 2 neonatal unit for its sickest babies.
It’s one of the first big donations in the 13th year of the radiothon, a 12-hour live broadcast from the lobby of the hospital on all Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Stations. This year’s event kicks off the multi-year campaign goal of raising $2.2 million to expand the neonatal care unit.
Current, the unit is only 357 square feet and only has enough medical gases to manage four sick babies at a time. As more sick or premature babies are born and kept in Prince Albert, the hospital needs to increase the size of its nursery to provide the right space and equipment here.
“357 square feet, that’s 20 by 18 feet. About the size of my office in the store. Ridiculous!” Jenkins said in a press release.
“It’s astonishing that the dedicated staff in the (hospital’s) neonatal unit have been able to do so much for so long, in such cramped and confined quarters. The numbers of sick and needy babies are rising all the time, and an expansion is urgently needed.”
Jenkins said Canadian Tire is happy to help. He said he knows that the “generous people of Prince Albert will respond, as they always do.”
He also issued a challenge to Canadian Tire’s competitors, some of whom are much bigger than Canadian Tire, to do their fair share and help build the unit.
“But as in the past 12 years of Give a Little Life, I won’t be holding my breath,” he said.
Jenkins has frequently donated to the hospital. According to a press release, he has given over $700,000 over the last 20 years. He often advocates for health care in the city and is currently a supporter of the Rose Garden Hospice project.
The radiothon runs from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Dec. 7 on 900 CKBI, XFM and Power 99. You can donate online at www.helpthevic.ca, come to the main lobby (free parking all day) or call 1-855-816-LIFE(5433) to make your pledge.