February 19, 2016

Kelly Clemmer, Editor-in-Chief

Health Foundation raises $88,000 at annual Heartstrings and Roses Gala

Myron Zajic accepts donation from Mary Burton

Just in time for Valentines Day, the Elks Hall was transformed into the S.S. Wainwright Love Boat on Saturday, February 13 during the Wainwright District Health Board Foundation’s annual Heartstrings and Roses Gala. The event is held by the foundation each year in an effort to raise funds to enhance health care services within the community through the purchase of new hospital equipment.
Community members in attendance surpassed the foundation’s fundraising target of $50, 000 by collectively raising over $88, 000, with a few more donations yet to be collected. Attendees were treated to dinner and an evening of entertainment by the comical Captain Stubby, portrayed by comedian Gery Schubert. The crowd engaged in a number of fund raising activities throughout the evening, most of which were musical performances including a special rendition of Love Me Tender sung by Battle River-Crowfoot MP Kevin Sorenson.
Amidst the dinner and entertainment, Chair of the Health Foundation, Myron Zajic, addressed the crowd sharing his thanks to the community for their generosity and ongoing support of the foundation, the importance of their donations and the effects they’ll have on Wainwright’s health services, as well as the foundation’s recognition and support for caregivers within the community.
“It is always a pleasure to see the support our community gives us on continuing our quest to enhance Health Services through our Wainwright Health Centre,” said Zajic.
He hopes that with the help of community donations, the foundation can begin to work on upgrading the physiotherapy room at the Wainwright Health Centre.
“it was built in 1984 and has had no upgrades since then. It is workable but can no longer meet the needs of today’s functionality. We want to put in some roof rails, motorized height and width parallel bars and some other options to make it more user friendly for the patient as well as the therapist.”
Zajic continued on to discuss an important health care service that often goes unrecognized and the difficulties that our local caregivers face on a daily basis.
“This evening, I want to touch on a subject that will affect each and every one of us in our lifetime. I am talking about providing health care to the chronically ill, or a disabled friend or loved one. Providing care to a person after an operation, an accident patient, heart attack patient, cancer patient, MS patient, and the list goes on,” he said.
“I am not talking about a doctor, nurse, healthcare aids or home care providing this service. I’m talking about you, me and hundreds of caregivers that support our elderly, siblings, children, family and friends.”
“Most of us have been caregivers or will be caregivers at one point in our lives and may have been the recipient of a caregiver for some health related illness. As a caregiver you may have difficulty finding the services you need. You will probably have a huge financial impact, lost wages and out of pocket expenses. Some people may have to quit their jobs and move in with their parents to look after them for extended periods of time,” said Zajic.
“The physical challenges of lost sleep, extra chores and worry leads to a higher risk of depression, anxiety and stress. You may have to learn to give needles, look after medications, change bandages, look after financial affairs and be the decision maker. You may need to provide 24 hour care, so how do you get a break?”“There is an association in Alberta called the Alberta Caregivers Association that have a structured program for supporting caregivers in our province. A care giver support program is a very worthwhile project for any community and one that myself and some others are currently working on for our community.”
The foundation has plans underway to create a caregiver support group in town in order to provide help to those struggling with this issue in our community. Zajic hopes to raise awareness of this issue and to inform the community that the actions of local caregivers are greatly appreciated and do not go unrecognized.
“We have lots of people in our community that are caregivers. They are, I would say, basically volunteers so why don’t we honour and celebrate them like we do any other volunteer,” said Zajic. “Shake their hand, pat them on the back, give them a hug, or send them some flowers. They deserve it.”
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