Feb. 18, 2009

Health Foundation Fundraiser Runs Short
Reporter: Daphne Mitchell Wednesday, February 18, 2009 At 6:00AM News
The Wainwright and District Community Health Foundation’s gala fundraiser will run a couple of thousand dollars short of its $35,000 goal to purchase a portable diagnostic ultrasound to be used in the Wainwright Health Centre emergency room.

Wainwright and District Health Foundation Chair Myron Zajic, left, talks with one of hundreds who came out to the Heart Strings and Roses fundraising gala Saturday night at the Wainwright Elks Hall.

Wainwright and District Community Health Foundation Chair Myron Zajic said this year’s Heart Strings and Roses held the at the Wainwright Elks Hall brought in $46,300, but with approximately $15,000 yet to be paid out in expenses, the $31,300 is just slightly shy of the target. The portable diagnostic ultrasound costs $70,000. The goal was to raise half the price of the machine and funds would then be matched by East Central Health.

Heart Strings and Roses did come up against a few other events in the area, namely the Boston Pizza Cup, the men’s provincial curling championships, as well as an Encore performance in Kinsella.

As such, Zajic was pleased at the turnout and result of one of Wainwright premier events. “Kudos really go out to the community again.”

About 330 people had a “superb” supper, heard a few words about health care in the community from local physician Dr. Max Ramsahoye who talked about the portable diagnostic ultrasound and Patrick Cromley, East Central Health medical services co-ordinator, who discussed the addition of a portable CT scan which enabled in the Wainwright Health Centre’s recent designation as a primary stroke centre.

In the emergency department, there is a real advantage to having the portable ultrasound, Ramsahoye said. “The portable ultrasound will allow us to make decisions quickly and accurately,” he said. “This is not standard equipment. We will be ahead of the curve with this machine.”

The Wainwright Health Centre, meanwhile, is making its mark when it comes to treating strokes.

“The Wainwright trial was introduced at the International Stroke Conference in Vienna,” said Cromley.

Patients are being helped.

“Wainwright went live as a primary stroke centre on Nov. 10, 2008. On Nov. 11, 12 and 14, the system was tested by three stroke emergencies. All three were immediately deemed a reverberating success throughout the neurology communities in Alberta and have since been discussed at every neurology conference,” Cromley said.

As a primary stroke centre with a portable CT scan, in just four short months, Wainwright has treated 20 per cent of East Central stroke cases this year, Cromley said.

If not for the determination of the doctors, nurses, diagnostic imaging technicians, physiotherapists and the rest of the staff at the health centre as well as that of the health foundation, these successes would not be seen, Cromley pointed out. It also shows rural Alberta can and will succeed in cutting edge health care. “The team’s ardent focus, perseverance, and dedication to the project and their community will soon lead to changes in stroke care in Alberta, Canada and even internationally. In these uncertain times of transition in provincial health care we must all make an effort to ensure the voice and success of rural Alberta is heard... And hopefully in the next 14 years we will see a more equitable hare of health care spending for rural Alberta.”

Following the speeches, Global Country artists’ Emily Seal, Joanne Janzen and Katie Mission entertained the crowd. The evening was also a chance for Zajic to honour three late community members who had been instrumental in enhancing health care in the area, Bob Grayston, Len Heinemann and Lorne MacLeod. Grayston was a member and chair of the Wainwright hospital board, chair of the long-term care committee for the Alberta Health Care Association and chaired the ambulance authority. He was also appointed to the now defunct Regional Health Authority Region 7.

“Bob Grayston spent 20 years of his life involved in enhancing health services in this community,” Zajic told the crowd.

Heinemann, meanwhile, was honoured last year for his unwavering support of health services in the community. Heinemann was appointed by the minister of health in 1998 to the regional health authority. He as eventually appointed to the East Central Health board and held that position until 2007. He also sat on the health foundation from 1998 to 2007.

MacLeod was another community-minded and health-minded man to spend countless hours enhancing health in the Wainwright area. He spent time on the foundation board over the years.
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