Radiothon exceeds goal, raising north of $80,000

Sari Green/Courier Steve Backman, left, president of the Charlotte County Hospital Foundation and Mark Downey of Charlotte FM were thrilled to raise more than $80,000 during Radiothon, held last Thursday in St. Stephen. The funds raised will be used to buy geriatric chairs and several new beds for the Charlotte County Hospital.

ST. STEPHEN – Each year, the Charlotte County Hospital Foundation (CCHF) raises funds through Radiothon, an event organized by Mark Downey of Charlotte FM in St. Stephen. The money raised through the event is used to buy much-needed equipment for the Charlotte County Hospital. In past years, various pieces of medical equipment have been purchased. This year, it was decided that there is a great need for new hospital beds to help improve patient comfort.

CCHF President Steve Backman said he was “blown away” by the amount the event raised this year. The goal was to bring in just over $75,000, and at the end of the day, $80,827 had been brought in through generous donations from the community.

“It was $80,827; just a shade under $81,000,” said Backman. “We blew past the goal. It’s enough to buy another bed, so we’re going to buy another bed. The hospital has 44 beds, and except for the ones in ICU, which are brand new, most of them need to be replaced at some point. This gives us an extra jump on that. It’s fantastic.”

Backman said in past years, donations would trickle in for about a month after the actual Radiothon event, and he expects that will be a similar trend this year. If that is the case, they will be able to buy another bed. Initially, the plan was to purchase 10 regular hospital beds, one bariatric bed, three specialized beds for restorative health, four geriatric chairs, and a cuddle bed for the palliative care unit. Now, they will be able to add one more bed to that list.

The largest donation of the day came from the Charlotte County Hospital Auxiliary. They purchased all four wheelchairs, as well as a bed, at a total of just over $20,000. Another large donation came from the McGeachey family. Backman said they made this donation in memory of their parents. Their donation, which was slightly more than $10,000, was made specifically to purchase the cuddle bed, because they wanted to ensure that families have the opportunity to be able to snuggle with their loved ones in palliative care.

Backman said he would like to thank everyone who donated, as well as everyone who helps to make Radiothon such a success year after year. He said the whole idea of Radiothon was conceived by Mark Downey, who has spearheaded the event every year.

“He’s done tons of work leading up to it that nobody sees,” said Backman. “He’s just dedicated in doing it for us. We have Melanie (Cameron) from our board, who’s just a dynamo, and makes sure everything’s organized. We just have to go there and look pretty. Between Mark and Melanie, everything’s set up and running smoothly.”

One of the best things about Radiothon, besides the fact that it raises money for equipment that is greatly needed, is how much it helps to boost staff morale. Backman said when they see how much support they have in the community, it is “just amazing how positive of an effect it has”.