Members of the Ponoka Festival of Trees (FOT) committee presented the Ponoka and District Health Foundation (PDHF) with a cheque for $100,000 on Jan. 22. L-R: Jennifer Parker, PDHF vice chair, Charolotte Winters, FOT coordinator, Lynette Hycha, PDHF trustee, Dorothy Ungstad, PDHF chair, Glenda Gaudet, Alberta Health Services (AHS) Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre (PHCC) acute care manager and Carol Wild, PHCC area manager. Photo by Judy Dick

2019 Ponoka Festival of Trees meets $100,000 goal

Ponoka hospital will begin purchasing heart monitoring cubes

The Ponoka Festival of Trees (FOT) committee members have wrapped up the 2019 event and officially made its $100,000 donation to the Ponoka and District Health Foundation (PDHF) on Jan. 22.

The donation will allow the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre (PHCC) to begin purchasing what it needs for a cardiac heart monitoring system.

The hospital will start by purchasing three cardiac monitoring cubes according to Carol Wild, Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre area manager.

A cube is a compact monitor that tracks a patients’ cardiac rhythm. It can be mobile or mounted.

Two cubes will be used in emergency, one fixed, and one on a cart, and the third will be used in acute care.

“We want to service patients in emergency first,” said Wild, adding that the two portable units will also allow for flexibility, so the cubes can be used wherever they are needed in the hospital.

The third cube will be stationed in acute care because patients with their medications being adjusted are in that unit.

The cubes will be ordered soon, and should arrive by the beginning of May, says Wild.

With the net proceeds of 2019’s FOT coming to $100,000, the fundraising goal for the event was reached. This was the first year that the PDHF organized the event.

“We’re incredibly pleased with the success and support of the community,” said Jennifer Parker, FOT vice chair.

The event’s success was due to the collaboration and hard work of the PHCC doctors, nurses and staff, says Parker.

“Their needs drive whatever we do and we work together.”

The mandate of the PHDF is to enhance health care in Ponoka and district, and every dollar raised through the initiative stays in Ponoka.

Over 2,000 people came out for the festival, which had six events over four days (Nov. 14 to 17 at the Stagecoach Saloon), according to Charlotte Winters, FOT coordinator.

The Snow Much Fun Day alone, featuring a Frozen theme and special guests Anna and Elsa, saw 1,300 people from all over central Alberta come through the doors, says Winters.

The committee aimed to make the event more inclusive, and the new events such as Beef ‘n’ Beer were big hits. The opening gala was a crowning event of the festival.

“Every single event was sold out,” said Winters.

As this was the foundation’s first time putting on the event, Parker says they’re still learning, and they want to grow and expand, making it even bigger and better in 2020.

The dates have been finalized, and the 2020 Festival of Trees will be held Nov. 12 to 15 at the Stagecoach Saloon. The committee is also excited to release the theme soon as well.

The PDHF committed to fundraise for a cardiac heart monitoring system for one cycle of FOT. It’s next fundraising goal will be released by April 2020.

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