Island residents support Grand Manan Hospital Foundation’s ultrasound campaign

Submitted photo Angie Russell, left, representing Grand Manan’s 100 Women Who Care presents Hospital Foundation chair, Andrew Jones, with a donation of $6,000 towards a new ultrasound machine.

Grand Manan – Thanks to a successful, 18-month-long fundraising campaign, the Grand Manan Hospital Foundation is able to purchase an ultrasound machine for the hospital located in the island community.

“This was certainly a celebration. We’re very pleased we accomplished our goal,” said Andrew Jones, the chair of the foundation. He expects delivery of the $59,000 diagnostic machine sometime in June.
“It’s the community that has done it, not the foundation,” stressed Jones. “Our role is to sort of motivate them, and rally them, and make this all happen. We’re just so pleased that everybody is supportive.”

Jones said the foundation’s goal is to “provide useful items for our rural hospital” and it started its work 10 years ago by replacing the old crank adjustable hospital beds with new electric ones.
Over the years, the foundation has purchased more comfortable chairs for the hospital’s waiting room, installed free wireless internet, purchased a new waiting room television and spent $5,000 on a patient ice chip machine.

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Two years ago, the foundation became aware of the hospital didn’t have a cardiac monitoring machine and raised $25,000 to purchase two of them.
It then borrowed an older model ultrasound for its three doctors, all of whom were already trained in its use.
Jones said the machine assisted doctors, pointing them in the right direction when it came to providing care for their patients.

He cited an instance where the machine helped doctors ascertain a man who had been involved in a car accident was suffering from internal bleeding and discovered indications in a female patient that led to further assessments and a cancer diagnosis which led to her successful treatment.
A decision was made to purchase a modern ultrasound device, with all the accessories. What surprised the foundation was the $59,000 price tag.
“We thought maybe that would be an overwhelming project, maybe too much.”

But it turned out it wasn’t, said Jones. He said the foundation provided the community with the focus to raise the money needed.
“The thing about Grand Manan is the community really values their hospital.”
The foundation partnered with the Independent Grocer on the island selling tickets for prizes and accepting donations at the checkouts in the store.

“It went from there,” said Jones. The foundation sent out a flyer regarding its campaign which received a boost from a former island resident now living in Ontario.
Jones said the individual runs the Dykhuizen Foundation, and that foundation offered to match donations up to $10,000.

“That really encouraged people to give and they gave very generously.”
The campaign also received a number of donations from a “Live Well Challenge” among local lobster fishermen.
Jones explained it was similar to the ALS ice bucket challenge.
“On a lobster boat you have a live well to keep lobsters alive while they’re out fishing,” said Jones.

The lobstermen challenged each other to jump into the live wells on their boats, and give the money they raised to a charity.
They then nominate three others to do the same.
He said the large tanks are below decks on the boats. “It’s hard to say no when you’re nominated,” he said, adding with a laugh. “Do you know how cold that would be?”

Jones said the foundation was also pleased to received a $6,000 donation from the 100 Women Who Care Grand Manan, along with some corporate donations which were followed in late February by a donation of $6,765 from an island bingo evening, which put the fundraising “over the top.” Exact figures of the surplus are still being tallied, he said.

Referring to the bingo night, “it seemed the whole island came,” said Jones. “We don’t have a regular bingo; it was a special thing. The money flowed in.”
The hospital foundation was created with a bequest from the late Ivan Greene. Jones said the man grew up on Grand Manan and went out west where he was very successful before moving back home.

“He had a love for his community.”
When Greene died he left money to several groups in the island to help “make Grand Manan a better place,” said Jones.
“We’re sort of capitalizing on that idea that it can help make the hospital a better place by providing these items.”

Jones said he’s very pleased with the island’s commitment to the hospital, noting his astonishment the community could raise $25,000 for cardiac monitors followed closely by the $59,000 for the ultrasound equipment.
He said what makes it even more astounding is Grand Manan Island has approximately 1,000 households.

“Where else would you get a response like that?”