Victoria Hospital NICU campaign gets $50,000 donation from Northern Lights corporation

Foundation still looking to raise about $1.8 million to meet goal

The current neonatal intensive care unit at the Victoria Hospital measures about 350 square feet. The new space will be more than ten times larger. Facebook photo.

A local development corporation has donated $50,000 towards the new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) set to be built at Victoria Hospital this summer.

The Northern Lights Community Development Corporation (NLCDC) made the donation. General manager Blake Charles said the organization is proud to invest in health care in the community, and for newborns born at the hospital.

“It is important to us to ensure that babies born in our communities remain as close to home as possible, while receiving the highest standard of care,” Charles said in a press release.

“Our organization’s goal is to achieve healthy, prosperous and sustainable communities and we are proud to partner with the Victoria Hospital Foundation for such an investment in our future,” he added.

NLCDC’s mandate is to distribute 25 per cent of net profits made at Northern Lights Casino “on a fair an equitable basis to First Nation and non-First Nation charitable organizations and groups within the catchment area of the Prince Albert Grand Council,” according to their website.

The donation brings the Victoria Hospital Foundation’s funding to $677,000. They are trying to reach a goal of $2.5 million to spend on new equipment, technology and furniture for the NICU.

The foundation’s CEO, Sherry Buckler, said it’s an honour any time First Nation’s communities and leadership become involved and help the foundation upgrade.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have them on board and participating in this really important campaign,” she said.

Buckler added that the partnership between NLCDC, and Northern Lights Casino goes all the way back to 2002. NLCDC has contributed over a million dollars to various projects at the hospital, according to Buckler.

She said the foundation is proud of their relationship with First Nation leaders and communities.

“It’s a very hopeful message. When you see partnerships such as this it underlines the fact that this hospital is for all of us,” Buckler said.

The foundation’s first goal in the NICU for the North campaign was to raise $2.5 million to expand the NICU from 350 square feet to 4,000 square feet. That goal was met in early 2019.

Construction has already begun on existing and unoccupied space at the hospital. Buckler, whose own son was in the NICU when he was born premature nine years ago, said the expansion is long overdue.

Buckler said the hospital hopes to cut the ribbon and open the unit by the end of summer. She added that if the foundation hasn’t met their fundraising goal by then, some equipment and furniture will be phased in as funding becomes available.