By Noa Glouberman,
Special to The Post
First opened in 1862, Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH) in New Westminster enjoys the unique distinction of being British Columbia’s oldest hospital.
It also happens to be one of the province’s busiest medical centres, with an average of 66,000 emergency visits a year and approximately 5,100 heart catheterizations performed annually.
In fact, according to a series of radio spots airing on 93.7 JRfm and 102.7 The Peak in the weeks leading up to the hospital’s second-annual Donation Day fundraising drive on October 8, one out of every three people in B.C. will be treated at RCH.
To put it in perspective, that’s 1.6 million British Columbians.
“Royal Columbian really is everyone’s hospital,” says Adrienne Bakker, president and CEO of the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation, which is organizing and facilitating Donation Day 2013. “That is a really great reason to give.”
With the hospital’s 151st anniversary landing on October 7 and Canadian Thanksgiving just around the corner, she adds, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for British Columbians to show their support by making a donation.”
Donation Day is a daylong event featuring live radio broadcasts from Royal Columbian Hospital on JRfm and The Peak, as well as from the RJ1200 and Radio Rim Jhim studios. These programs will include inspirational stories from the front lines of one of B.C.’s most complex-care hospitals.
“We’re inviting everyone to tune in to hear all about the pivotal role that Royal Columbian Hospital plays within our community and the province as a whole,” says Bakker. “We encourage individuals and community and corporate groups to drop by in person, or to call in or make a donation online.”
With no contribution too big or too small, the foundation hopes to beat last year’s Donation Day total of more than $250,000 by reaching a wide range of supporters throughout the area serviced by the Fraser Health Authority and beyond, including members of B.C.’s South Asian community.
“Something new that we’re doing this year through our partnership with Omni TV is running public-service television announcements in Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi,” she says. “We’re very excited about the campaign; it’s a true reflection of the wonderful, multicultural nature of both our staff and the many patients who receive care at Royal Columbian.”
Indeed, RCH is uniquely equipped to deal with certain health issues that appear to be predominant within the South Asian population. With recent research showing South Asians to be four times more likely to experience coronary disease due to a combination of hereditary and environmental factors, Bakker says that the work being done at RCH is of particular importance.
“Fraser Health has the third-largest South Asian population in Canada, with nearly 200,000 South Asian people living in the area,” she explains. “Royal Columbian Hospital is Fraser Health’s only site performing open-heart surgery. In fact, more than 800 open-heart surgeries are done at the hospital a year.”
In addition to equipment needs and facility enhancements, Bakker says that the money raised on Donation Day could help fund research, innovation and education at RCH, as well as bolster the foundation’s efforts to better engage with the community when it comes to supporting an investment in health care.
“ While our government provides the essential dollars for health care, people can build on that funding to enhance what we’re able to provide,” she explains. “W hen you come to the hospital you see such a diversity of people here, so it’s imp we reach out to all of our patients and potential patients. As Canadians, we all need to support each other’s care.”
To make a donation to Royal Columbian Hospital on Donation Day, call 310-4000 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 8, or donate online at rchcares.com