Giving a little more

Victoria Hospital. -- Herald file photo.

Edward Korzenoski wasn’t entirely sure what he was supporting, but that didn’t stop him from offering a donation.

Korzenoski was one of hundreds of Prince Albert residents who gave to the Victoria Hospital Foundation during Give a Little Life Day Radiothon on Friday. Although he wasn’t certain what area he was supporting, just knowing it will help the hospital is enough.

“We always donate,” he chuckled. “Rain or shine, I know the hospital needs it.”

Like many backers, Korzenoski said he feels a responsibility to support Victoria Hospital, the only regional hospital within the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region. Although he jokes about not knowing the ins and outs of the fundraising campaign, Korzenoski is serious about being a loyal patron.

“It’s a community affair,” he said. “Everybody uses the hospital.”

For the last 11 years, the annual Give a Little Life Radiothon has helped raise a combined $4.5 million dollars for the hospital, largely thanks to donors like Korzenoski.

Sherry Buckler, the Victoria Hospital Foundation’s executive director, said it’s encouraging to see that continued support, especially since it’s been such a tough year across Saskatchewan.

“It’s a time of uncertainty in our province right now. We all know that,” she said. “This just goes to show healthcare is extremely important to our community and that even in times of uncertainty, we have a very philanthropic, giving, generous and caring community.”

It wasn’t just individual residents stepping up to the plate either. Canadian Tire stepped forward and promised to match $50,000 in contributions. That inspired the Peter Ballyntyne Group of Companies to provide a $10,000 donation of their own, and things began to snowball from there.

By the end of the day, other companies like Athabasca Basin Development, the Northern Lights Community Development Corporation and Prince Albert Northern Lights Casino had joined for a combined donation of $96,000 between the five organizations.

Friday’s total of $351,589 and counting (as of press time, the final number was not available) will be put to good use. The hospital needs an automated upgrade to its pharmacy, which ideally will help free pharmacists up for more pressing duties. The automated pill packaging system includes a software program with a verification safety check system and costs around $400,000

Buckler said the support was heartwarming, and added that it shows people are passionate about maintaining a high level of local healthcare.

“The more we do not have to travel to Saskatoon to have tests or surgeries or examinations the better. It’s less stress on the families and then it’s less expensive.”