The Ponoka and District Health Foundation has seen growth in fundraising dollars in recent years thanks to help from the Ponoka Festival of Trees. The foundation is working to increase further awareness for its provincially acclaimed endoscopy program.

Ponoka health foundation raising awareness

One of the many benefits of donating money to the Ponoka and District Health Foundation (PDHF) is that it stays right here in Ponoka.

One of the many benefits of donating money to the Ponoka and District Health Foundation (PDHF) is that it stays right here in Ponoka.

That’s the key message PDHF board member Barry Neath hoped to get across to members of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce at their lunchomercial held March 21 at the Calnash Ag Event Centre.

Neath said the foundation’s goal is to find ways to improve the lives of those who need services from the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre. “We spend it (money raised) on the care of our patients.”

If it wasn’t for the dedication of the Ponoka Auxiliary, a group of volunteers who run the gift shop, there would be less in the coffers to help with patients’ needs, added Neath.

“We are very lucky to work with the hospital gift shop…That place is amazing with the work they do,” said Neath, adding that the many hours they put into the shop has been a boon for the hospital.

Neath pointed out that there are zero dollars set aside in the provincial capital budget for Ponoka’s hospital, which means the work falls to the residents. “Our hospital is crucial.”

By now residents may be familiar with the big push to expand the hospital’s endoscopy program, which is seeing provincial acclaim. Neath said with the Ponoka Festival of Trees stepping in to help with the fundraising endeavours the PDHF has been able to get closer to its goals.

“The Festival of Trees is the greatest thing that’s looked after our hospital,” he stated.

Despite the lack of capital funding, the hospital’s endoscopy program, headed by Dr. Hilgard Goosen, has become a service not only for Ponoka, but for surrounding areas. But ensuring a well-run operation means having proper equipment, supplies and staff.

Neath reiterated to chamber members there are many opportunities for donations, which would further benefit the hospital and its residents.

One of the areas the PDHF is working to expand on is finding ways to recognize the many volunteers and donors who have stepped up to help the hospital.

There is also room for more people on the PDHF board, says Neath. For more information call 403-783-3341.