Health foundation looking to expand endoscopy program

Big plans are in the works for the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre with improvements and fundraising set for the endoscopy program.

The Ponoka and District Health Foundation held an open house Sept. 21 at Hudson Green Nature and Activity Centre highlighting the goals and of the fundraising group. This year is a big push to raise funds for the endoscopy unit. Here Festival of Trees member Sherry Gummow

Big plans are in the works for the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre with improvements and fundraising set for the endoscopy program.

To highlight the goals this year the Ponoka and District Health Foundation (PDHF) held an open house Sept. 21 at the Hudson Green Nature and Activity Centre.

Complementing the foundation were members of the Ponoka Auxiliary, a major fundraiser for the hospital, and the Ponoka Festival of Trees. PDHF chairperson Dorothy Ungstad was clear on what happens to the funds that go to the foundation. “What is raised in Ponoka, stays in Ponoka.”

One of the biggest components of buying new equipment for the hospital is ensuring that there are enough supplies to keep the equipment in use and that staff are trained on how to use them. By working with the Ponoka Auxiliary and the Festival of Trees she hopes to continue to expand on the endoscopy program in Ponoka.

Auxiliary chairperson Joyce Mackenzie said the hospital gift shop is meant to lighten people’s lives. Its purpose is patient comfort and care and is a fundraising source for the hospital. Because of the countless hours of volunteer work, the Auxiliary has been able to purchase long-term care beds and a new birthing bed.

And now with the Festival of Trees coming into its third year more money goes to the hospital. Sherry Gummow, festival spokesperson, said the hospital continues to be a focus and this year is no different.

Dr. Hilgard Goosen runs the endoscopy program at the hospital and he said these fundraisers are vital to continue the program, which is seeing recognition from other communities. Indeed, the endoscopy program supports residents from several nearby communities. Covering colonoscopies and gastroscopies, Goosen says Ponoka is enrolled in a quality management program to see how it rates against other hospitals.

For him, keeping services close to home is important. “It means a lot for people to get it done at home.”

One of the main reasons for raising money is to ensure funding for supplies and for the four to five nurses needed for exams, are available. It is costly but he says Alberta Health Services is supportive of the program and will replace equipment purchased through fundraising as it ages.

About 1 in 13 men and 1 in 16 women in Alberta will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime.

The three groups anticipate a busy year of fundraising.


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