NCHCF Radiothon returns and raises more than $200,000 for healthcare needs in community

NCHCF Facebook Volunteers were busy at the Pancake Breakfast kickoff for the NCHCF Radiothon at the Bourgault Curling Centre on Thursday, Oct. 26.

For the first time since 2019, the North Central Healthcare Foundation hosted their 12 hour Radiothon to fundraise for healthcare needs in Melfort on Thursday, Oct. 26.
By the end of the day, the organization had exceeded their goal and raised $224,000.

The 12-hour day began at the Bourgault Curling Centre at 7 a.m. with a $10 pancake breakfast and continued with a phone bank at the Melfort Hospital.

Peggy George, the chair of the NCHCF board said the support showed how much people care.

“We know what people need and it was a lot of work but well worth the effort,” George said. “It was just so neat to be back with people again out in the public and sharing our passion to keep the healthcare up and going and moving forward.”
This was the third annual radiothon. The first one was held in 2017 when the organization fundraised for a digital imaging machine.
“When we did that, after it was over we talked about it and we said, ‘let’s not do this every year. Let’s make it more special by doing it every other year rather than every year’ and so that’s what we did,” George explained.

In 2019 the radiothon raised money for an incubator. They did not hold one in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were looking forward to 2021, but everybody was still masked and we’re still just in no man’s land,” George said. “It was not a good time. Yes, we could have had a radiothon because we could have kept our distance in around our telephones and stuff, but not being able to have the pancake breakfast was a problem.”

The wishlist for the Melfort Hospital is a long one. It includes two OR tables ($135,000); an OR tower and insufflator ($70,000); a cardiac monitor ($27,000); four stretchers ($32,000); four Vital Signs Monitors ($16,000) and more.

She said that the pancake breakfast kickoff fundraiser has always been a key.
“That gets the healthcare people out working with the people and showing the people that they’re just human too and this is their community,” she explained. “They are supporting and promoting their community just like everybody else and the breakfast is really a fun way to kick off and get people talking.

“It is more exposure too. People get up for those kinds of things and that’s always good.

She said that the fundraiser was a pretty great day, but two donations near the end put them over the top.

“We had two major, major contributions that came in right near the end, and that’s life isn’t it? It’s all about timing, and we did not know the one was coming at all,” she said.

“We had an inkling that one might, but to have them come at a time when we were having that campaign was absolutely huge. Without those two, we wouldn’t have made our goal.”

Delores Beuker and the late Bernard Beuker donated $54,000 towards our Surgical Equipment Campaign and $25,000 towards future needs at Parkland Place. The Estate of Leilah Wood donated $120,000 in support of the Surgical Equipment Campaign.

According to a Facebook post by the foundation, Leilah made the Melfort area home after having spent part of her childhood in a Prisoner of War Camp in Hong Kong during World War II. She became part of the hospital family during her stay, visiting and playing the piano.

“When I was thinking about that this morning, I thought, because I’m still stars in my eyes, still amazed, still so overwhelmed and grateful. I’m thinking, wow, those ladies, it’s a real testament to them and their kindness, their generosity, and their love for their community and moving forward,” George said.

She added that it also spoke to the care they received in Melfort’s facilities.

“That really warms my heart too, because that says what we’re doing is important and we have to keep doing it. It was a pretty emotional ending to the day, actually,” George said.
George said that there were so many people from all walks of life who helped throughout the day from being in the phone bank to assisting with the pancake breakfast. She thanked the many business sponsors including the curling rink who provided the kitchen at no cost and Penny of Penny’s Soup and Sandwich, which operates out of the rink.

“Penny Baker in her soup kitchen just opened it up and said, yes, come on in. And she was right in there up to her elbows, making pancakes and frying the sausages along with our volunteers. She was a huge help,” George said.

Tim Hortons provided coffee for the day, George also thanked McDonald’s and Nutter’s for their support.

“To see that kind of support., it all adds to the bottom line and it was really good,” she said.

George said to look for more updates on the foundation’s Facebook page and website.

“We like to recognize our donors on our website and it’s also a really easy way if you have it in your mind to donate,” she explained. “You can donate online very quickly and simply through our website.”

She also said that leaving legacies like Leliah Wood was another important way to give back.

“(It’s) something else for you to think about when you’re doing your wills and planning forward,” George said.