Canada Life commits $20K to Vic. Hospital Foundation’s cardiac health campaign

The 2018 Give a Little Life Day campaign fundraised for an expanded neonatal unit. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

“it just seemed like the right thing to do.”

– Debbie Down, Canada Life

The Victoria Hospital Foundation has received a $20,000 pledge towards this year’s Give a Little Life Day campaign.

Canada Life, a domestic life insurance company, is putting the money towards cardiac equipment for the Victoria Hospital to kick off the campaign.

The Victoria Hospital Foundation is hoping to raise $385,000 to purchase a portable digital radiology x-ray machine, telemetry units and two echo ultrasound beds.

“(The pledge) means a great deal to our foundation, but I think even more importantly it really means a lot to the local community to see an organization like Canada Life stepping forward in the way that they have to invest in the local healthcare,” said Sherry Buckler, CEO of the Victoria Hospital Foundation.

“Heart disease is an increasing chronic health condition in certain populations, whether it be baby boomers, whether it be young people.”

This isn’t the first time Canada Life has supported healthcare in Prince Albert.

According to Debbie Down, Canada Life director of community relations, the company donated ceiling lift tracks in 2016. Buckler confirmed they were needed in the Herb Basset Home in order to reduce injuries in caregivers.

“We want to be there for not only our customers, but for all Canadians and looking to improve (their) mental, physical and financial well-being,” said Down.

“We try to support through a philanthropic way with those same values in mind.”

Down said Canada Life has connections from coast to coast. Even though she lives in Winnipeg, she hears about “some important gaps” in communities across the country.

“When we were approached for this campaign, it just seemed like the right thing to do,” she said.

The Victoria Hospital Foundation is highlighting Shawna Zawerucka’s story to personalize the need for cardiac equipment. She had a heart attack when she was only 47 years old, receiving treatment in Prince Albert and Saskatoon.

“Please donate generously to Give a Little Life Day this year to help us purchase new technology and equipment for people like me. A heart attack can happen to anyone. And we need to be ready,” said Zawerucka.

“Sometimes when you talk about medical equipment, it can be very detached emotionally,” said Buckler.

“By talking with somebody in the community who has experienced such a health scare or life or death situation, that helps make it more relatable for people and it’s just the thread back to the human story.”

Buckler said the Victoria Hospital’s current x-ray machine is not portable and takes a significant amount of time for the doctor to get the images.

Not only can the x-ray machine they’re fundraising for be wheeled to the patient, it also gives doctors instant results.

She said this saves time and can reduce damage to the patient’s heart.

“We are very grateful and fortunate that (Canada Life) saw value in this new equipment and they can see value in providing this extra level of care in Prince Albert,” emphasized Buckler.

Power 99FM, 101.5 XFM and 900 CKBI will be broadcasting the Give a Little Life Day Radiothon on Dec. 6 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.