fraser health region
Counting the costs page 10
Unplug + Play
photo: David Buzzard
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
BC setting the stage with Accessibility 2024 also available online at issuu.com/glacierspecialtypublishing
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Ian Jacques, Alison Taylor, Sheryl Gray, Emily Stewart
volume 1, number 3, winter 2017 Published by glacier media. Copyright ©2017. All rights reserved. Reproduction of articles permitted with credit. Advertisements in this magazine are coordinated by Glacier Media. Glacier Media does not endorse products or services. Any errors, omissions or opinions found in this magazine should not be attributed to the publisher. The authors, the publisher and the collaborating organizations will not assume any responsibility for commercial loss due to business decisions made based on the information contained in this magazine. Speak with your doctor before acting on any health information contained in this magazine. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without crediting Glacier Media. Printed in Canada. Please recycle.
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planning for the future WITH DISABILITIES BC setting the stage with Accessibility 2024 Alison Taylor UNPLUG + pLAY Off-screen indoor activities for kids in winter
Counting the costs Retirement fiscal planning Alison Taylor mirror, mirror How body image can impact mental health Healthy eating It can still happen even when celebrating
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Tim Shoults Editor, Healthier You fraser Health Region
where can you find healthier you? In doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics, pharmacies and other community settings, we will be waiting there, too – keeping you company, and sharing stories and insight into healthrelated issues that matter to you.
It’s time to plan Happy New Year! May your 2017 be a healthy one. The end of a year and the beginning of a new one is a time for planning – particularly fiscal planning. But for parents of children with special needs, planning takes on a whole new level of difficulty – particularly as those children become adults and parents age. Planning for the future can be scary for all of us – not only the fear of running out of money, but of contemplating our own mortality. When you add a dependent adult to that equation, trying to ensure the plans you make hold up not to the end of your life, but of your son or daughter’s life, it becomes even scarier. That’s what prompted us to put the Geschke family in focus in this edition of Healthier You magazine. They’re living that scenario right now – and despite all the challenges it presents, they have made that plan – and the provincial government’s Accessibility 2024 plan is helping to make that kind of planning easier for other families in that situation. The Geschke’s foresight and courage is an example to us all, whether you have people with special needs in your life or not. Planning feels scary, and the
winter 2017 fraser health region
inclination we feel to put it off is strong. But the sense of relief you get when you face that fear and build your plan is well worth facing your fear. Make 2017 the year you build your plan to live a happier, healthier life. We also shine the spotlight in this issue on the dedicated volunteers that help support our local hospitals and health care institutions – some of whom are even responsible for the very creation of hospitals in our communities. Their thousands of volunteers contribute hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours per year and raise millions of dollars. Without them our hospitals, care homes and other health care facilities in our region would be poorer places – and in many cases, simply would never have existed or remained open. Next time you find yourself at your local hospital, take a moment to visit the auxiliary gift shop. Check out the beautiful, often hand-made, goods on display and buy something. But most importantly, make sure you thank the person at the till. She or he represents a critical component of our health care system.
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Planning BC setting the stage with Accessibility 2024
Jacynthe Geschke was a teenager when her disability really sank in for her parents. alison taylor contributing writer
She was diagnosed just before she turned 16 years old — autism, PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified), an IQ under 70, among other things. When she finally come to understand the extent of her daughter’s disability, Laurie Geschke could not consider what the future would bring. “For over a decade I couldn’t look at the future,” says the Maple Ridge mother of four. “It was just one day at a time because there was no hope.” In addition to the hopelessness, there was also a significant weight on her shoulders when she thought about what would happen to Jacynthe, her second oldest child, after she and her husband died.
Jacynthe Geschke in the Cythera Thrift Shop in Maple Ridge where she volunteers. photo: David Buzzard
Then, about 10 years ago, they decided to face the future head on. That involved making some difficult decisions in the course of setting up their will and establishing a trust for Jacynthe. And yet, once they
winter 2017 fraser h ealth region
made those decisions, it brought a “huge sense of relief” knowing that Jacynthe’s financial future at least was secure. “Having a will brought such peace of mind, having it done finally,” says Geschke. “It was something that ate away at our souls for decades but we were paralyzed with inaction.” While Laurie Geschke’s story underscores the challenges of financial planning for children with disabilities, it also highlights the peace of mind that comes when financial plans are in place. Making BC more accessible The province has called it Accessibility 2024. It’s a 10year action plan for people with disabilities. If it all goes according to plan, it could be a game-changer in the province, with 12 building blocks outlining ways to get there. They include: Accessible Transportation, Accessible Housing, Employment. Financial Security — helping people with disabilities become
for the future with disabilities
more financially independent — is also one of the 12 building blocks. “I am very proud that our government is committed to improving the financial security and quality of life for all Canadians,” says Carla Qualtrough, B.C.’s Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities in a press release. “I am encouraging all my provincial and territorial counterparts to join me in helping to ensure Canadians with disabilities are equipped to participate equally in their communities and workplaces.” Among other things, there is a fouryear outreach program to increase uptake in the RDSP — Registered Disability Savings Plan — as well as financial literacy in general. More than 22,500 people in BC now have RDSPs and while that’s the highest per capita in Canada, the number is still low, says Tim Ames, executive director with PLAN — Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network —a group that will be involved in the RDSP outreach. “That (22,500 of people with RDSPs) represents the people who
live in urban areas whose parents are financially aware of programs that are available,” says Ames. “The folks that probably need the RDSP the most are the folks who have the most challenge in accessing it and being able to qualify for it.” The RDSP was announced by the Canadian government in 2007 and became available in 2008, the blueprint development by PLAN which then lobbied for it in Ottawa.
McDonald has an RSDP for his own daughter with a disability. His message, quite simply is this: “Get on with it right now if you qualify.” Making progress Her parents were told that she would not reach typical young adulthood at 18 or 19 years old but were encouraged to keep doing what they were doing, working with Jacynthe, and the chances were good that she would continue to learn.
“It is an absolutely no-lose proposition and it’s generous,” says Dan McDonald, a certified professional accountant who is an RDSP facilitator for free workshops through PLAN.
“There was this open realm of possibilities after she left high school,” says her mom.
Some of the main advantages are the tax deferred growth and the free government money, which ranges from $20,000 to a maximum of $90,000. In addition, the assets and income from the RDSP do not disqualify the individuals with the disability from other disability benefits they may be receiving.
At 31 years old, Jacynthe has come a long way in the last ten years. And yet, she will likely never hold down a 9-to-5 job, or work 40 hours per week. She will always be limited to what she can earn without losing her disability benefits.
It proved to be true in Jacynthe’s case.
continued on page 8
fraser health region winter 2017
If someone opens a new RDSP and goes through PLAN Institute, Ames said the non-profit can help them with a $150 contribution through a donation from the Vancouver Foundation.
to the difficult question: What will happen to our children with disabilities when we are gone?
continued from page 7
“Money will be tight all her life,” says Geschke. “Our responsibility didn’t end when she hit 18 or 19 and it’s not going to end when we die either. Our responsibility for her really is not going to end until she dies.” In addition to her trusts, a microboard (a non-profit society set up to provide support for one individual with disabilities) and a social network, her parents have also set up an RDSP.
“Nobody was going to be good enough,” admits Geschke when it came to answering that question. “But truthfully, almost anybody is better than nobody, or the alternative, should you not be there.”
“Over the course of a lifetime, someone who starts at around age 5, who doesn’t put any of their own money in at all but qualified for all the government bonds and grants, would have about $70,000 in their RDSP,” he says.
Geschke’s advice is it’s critical to pick the right lawyer to develop your will and trust, someone who not only understands estate law but is also familiar with disability laws.
How to plan Financial planning can be overwhelming, whether considering a disability or not.
“Even if you don’t have any funds to put in yourself, we can help get you started.”
Ames says it’s key to talk to a financial planner to see how to optimize what’s available.
For more information, access www.plan.ca.
“It’s so hard to give general information because every family situation is unique,” he says.
It’s one of the reasons why PLAN was established in 1989, to help families find the answers
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Unplug Play sheryl gray contributing writer
When the weather outside is frightful... it can be an easy fix to let the kids curl up with an endless stream of videos, online games and digital image apps. Happily, you got this. Playing indoors isn’t about the latest and greatest — classic fun still rules the family room, and you’ll even be able to show your kids a trick or two. Make space for big fun! Bring out all the blankets, sleeping bags and beanbag chairs, and let the kids take over the living room with a fort. Once the fort is built, some flashlights and favourite stuffies can join the party along with the giggles and secret handshakes. Toss in a few marshmallows and skewers, and Club Campfire will soon morph from the sagging blankets.
Off-screen indoor activities for kids in winter So they think they can dance... Or sing, or act! The classic “tickle trunk” with old Halloween costumes, funny hats, props from theme parties, etc., is fun for younger kids, and often leads to role playing, fashion shows, or music concerts. Older kids might skip the dress-up and go straight to the dance party or the karaoke competition. Messy can be a good thing Kids have a knack of loving the activities which are messiest for a parent to clean up. With some preparation, a planned “mess fest” will leave some lasting artistic impressions (and not on your walls). Keep a roll of newsprint or kraft paper (the brown kind) handy — use painter’s tape to completely cover the dining room table, kitchen island or a big piece of floor with the paper.
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Retirement fiscal planning alison taylor contributing writer
Moving to Whistler to full-time was always a part of Sue and Les Lawther’s retirement plan. More than 20 years ago, they bought a house in the resort community but they never got too attached to it; their plan was always to sell it and retire on the profits of the sale. After the 2010 Olympic Games, the Lawther’s moved into the Olympic legacy village in one of six dedicated seniors housing units. Like hundreds of resident restricted units in Whistler, their new place has a capped resale value, making it far more affordable than free market real estate. Their retirement plan worked — the Lawther’s could realize the gains in their market house and yet continue to live in the ski resort, retiring in the place they love.
Les and Sue Lawther snowshoe around their Cheakamus Crossing development in Whistler.
“I’m just a strong, strong believer in having a plan,” says Goldstein, who had been semi-retired and doing private investing and financial planning for the last 15 years. “It comes out of a very strong business background.” Goldstein’s own plan has been in place these past 30 years. At 65 years old, he’s trying to show others the value in that forward-thinking. It isn’t always easy. There are two reasons, he adds, why people don’t want to think about counting the costs of retirement. Not only can it be complicated and difficult to understand, it’s also about making sacrifices today for something far off down the road. And let’s face it, saving for tomorrow isn’t as fun as spending today. “It’s very much a society and lifestyle of instant gratification,” he says.
“We always knew when we bought our Whistler house that it was our RRSP,” says Sue Lawther.
“It’s hard to sacrifice the dollar now, knowing that I’ll have $5 or $6 in the future. That’s too far off. It’s the same as ‘I’ll eat the bagel now and I’m not going to worry about the 600 calories.’”
Retirement for the Lawthers has gone according to plan, in part because they had an actual plan and followed through with it. It doesn’t always work out that way, cautions local financial planner Bill Goldstein.
The key however is in understanding the compounding interest — the interest on interest. When you add the interest to the principal each year, the balance doesn’t just grow, it grows at an increasing rate. Or as Goldstein says: Spending $1,000 today is really like spending $5,000 to $7,000 over the course of your life.
“I have a lot of clients using their house (for retirement),” he says. “But in the end, you can’t eat your house. That’s part of the problem.” Having a plan Having a retirement plan in place is music to Goldstein’s ears. He loves to talk about financial planning for retirement, a topic that tends to scare and stress most people. His company is called Lifestages Financial Planning Services (www.lifestagesfinancial.ca), based in
Whistler and offering services in the Sea to Sky area and in Toronto and the United States.
winter 2017 fraser health region
“The mathematics is confounding to most people,” he adds. The Simple Math So how much money is enough to retire? That’s the million-dollar question. The simple answer, says Goldstein, is: “It totally depends on your lifestyle.” Are you planning to travel the world in your later years or are you planning on spending your days skiing from your cabin in Whistler? Do you want to leave an continued on page 14
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How body image can impact mental health Taryn Brumfitt gained international attention when she posted a photo of herself online, completely naked and gloriously unapologetic. sheryl gray contributing writer
With no digital enhancement and no strategic posing (other than to keep the photo G-rated), the image struck a chord with women across the world. Ample flesh, curvy rolls and uncovered cellulite punctuated Brumfitt's appearance... along with a broad smile. Brumfitt, an Australian photographer and mother of three, went on to establish the Body Image Movement, an organization with a declared mission to "put an end to body loathing and spread the message of body loving." Body loathing, or poor body image, has become a societal norm, with 75 to 90 per cent of us disliking our body, or parts of our body, to some degree. And while that norm has many unhappy with their appearance, trying to fix our bodies isn't the magical cure to bring happiness. It's not about fixing your body; it's about fixing your body image. Elspeth Humphreys is the Regional Coordinator of Fraser Health's Eating Disorders Program, and she is well familiar with the effect of body image on mental well-being. Virtually unavoidable, we see images in the media every day that revere so-called ideal bodies, or ridicule bodies of those considered unhealthy or unattractive, and this serves to reinforce our own judgements of the human body. "Our culture is full of stigma about weight, across the full spectrum of sizes,” says Humphreys. “Slim is associated with happy and healthy people, with the opposite true for larger bodies. 12
winter 2017 fraser health region
“We judge ourselves, and we judge others, and often, these judgements are made on a subconscious level, based on our early-developed beliefs and values.” Our body-shaming culture and media's portrayal of bodies isn't easily controlled, and we'd be challenged to avoid it. But we can control the culture within our own homes, and how we outwardly treat others — and ourselves. Humphreys hears disparaging comments from clients about their bodies, who feel it's okay to body-shame if they're only speaking about themselves. "When we speak negatively about our bodies, even our own bodies, we continue to normalize this widespread dissatisfaction with our outward appearance. When you feel ashamed of yourself, it leads to depression, anxiety, and gradual isolation," says Humphreys. "Through our Eating Disorders Program, we teach self-compassion. We challenge the so-called thin 'ideal' body, and focus on healthy behaviours. At the minimum, we work on being neutral toward our bodies: focusing on function over form." Humphreys has regular speaking engagements with health professionals on "Fat Talk Awareness," and recommends balancedviewbc.ca as an online learning resource to reduce weight bias and stigma in professional practice. She also works with clients on this same "Fat Talk" concept for changing the conversations we have with each other, and with ourselves. "Do these pants make me look fat?" is the butt of many a joke, but it's this kind of "Fat Talk" that Humphreys is looking to end. Our sense of self develops early, and children who are subjected to debate about good and bad foods, earning treats through exercise, clothes not meant for certain body types, etc., are internalizing
these judgements as the norm. Kids are always looking and listening, and the conversations we're having today will impact them tomorrow. Interestingly, it's not just insults that give shape to our body image, but also, the compliments. "Wow, you've lost weight! You look great!" does more than suggest that your looks didn't measure up prior to your weight loss. "I encourage people to start to change the conversation at home. Adopt a policy to compliment and say nice things about people, such as 'that colour looks good on you,' or 'you look so happy today.' Avoid commenting on changes to weight or physical features," says Humphreys. "The policy also needs to include talk about how people are all different, and to not comment on people's bodies. Different is not just okay, it's who we are. The book Shapesville is a wonderful resources for kids to learn about different shapes and sizes (2003, A. Mills & B. Osborn)." With the majority of the population not 100 per cent happy with their appearance, when should professional help be sought? People need to ask themselves to what degree a poor body image is impacting their joy in life, along with their personal relationships. Is a negative body image forcing a more conservative choice of dress, or skipping an event altogether? With the understanding that your body image isn't actually about how your body looks, family physicians are a good place to start, in search of support. Your physician can screen for mental health issues, and make appropriate referrals for support and/or treatment. BC residents of all ages can access our provincial resources through the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre (keltymentalhealth.ca). "Start to have those conversations â€“ with your kids, your friends and family, yourself. Issues with body image are normal, across all demographics, for women and men," says Humphreys. "End the Fat Talk, and change the conversation for a better body image."
w w w. b h f o u n d a t i o n . c a
continued from page 10
inheritance to your children? Do you want to support your children as they get older? Another critical part of the equation is how long you’re going to live. The 2011 census counted almost 6,000 people aged 100 years and older. The growth rate for this age group has been one of the highest of all the age groups in the last 40 years. And it’s only expected to rise with medical advances. Recent Statistics Canada’s population projections state that the number of centenarians could reach more than 17,000 by 2031 and close to 80,000 by 2061. That has “enormous” impacts on what it means for the cost of retiring, says Goldstein. “I say to my kids: ‘You need to plan to 100.’” Think about what that means, urged Goldstein. A “normal” path would be to work until 65 and then retire. “You’re then going to live another 35 years with no income whatsoever, except what you’ve saved,” he says. “That’s a concept to a 30-year-old... that’s just hard.”
Let’s consider $1 million to retire. At a 4 per cent return, with CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and OAS (Old Age Security pension), that will likely give you a $65,000 a year lifestyle. Is that enough? The single most important financial task anyone can undertake, says Goldstein, is to truly understand their own spending. Only then will you know how much you need in retirement. Aging in place – Whistler Sue Lawther says financial planning is a topic that always draws a crowd in Whistler, whether people have planned for it their whole lives or are late getting started. “It’s on people’s minds,” says Lawther. “We are an aging demographic. All of us baby boomers who came here and camped around Green Lake (back in the day), we’re all turning 65, 70, 75 and we don’t want to leave!” Because the Lawthers had a plan in place, they didn’t have to leave. They continue to make plans in order to keep living in Whistler as they get older. This is a place after all, that has the best of both worlds — rural living in the mountains with easy access to city perks.
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How to have fun + maintain a healthy eating plan
Humans have been celebrating with feast and frolic since the beginning of time. Emily Stewart Contributing Writer
While today we still find plenty of excuses to indulge, long gone are the days when most people enjoy such frivolity without the niggling worry, “This is going to make me fat.” Thanks to a popular awareness of obesity and “healthy living,” what was formerly innocent party mongering is now an affront to one’s hard-earned calorie-tracking credits. How can you find a healthy eating plan in today’s weight-obsessed culture? While it’s true that the high-calorie, low-fibre, vitamindeficient foods popular at parties do pose a threat to one’s dress size, they’re not necessarily “unhealthy.” The term “healthy” cannot describe a food. “Healthy” is an adjective and adverb, a general descriptor of a state of being; it is well-being, vitality. Food doesn’t have well-being. People have well-being. The term “nutritious” describes food. Every type of food is a unique ratio of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals (that’s right; even red meat has trace carbs in it). Some ratios are more conducive to digestion, energy, and longevity than others. You, not your food, can be healthy. Because a healthy lifestyle is based on a myriad of personal and cultural ideals, each one of us can be healthy in our own way, including the way we choose to eat.
What healthy eating really means is balance. Balanced eating may refer to what you eat in a single sitting. And, it may also refer to what you eat over the course of a year. Of course, physical activity and unique DNA play a big role in how a balanced lifestyle affects your weight/ size. Only you truly understand how balance is achieved within your own life. Start by defining what health means to you, realistically and with an eye on personal satisfaction. Then, use the following tips to find your healthiest eating plan! Enjoy the taste How often do you eat a plateful of food simply because it’s offered and then have no idea what the items actually tasted like? How often do you go back for seconds without discerning exactly what you want more of, and why? Take time to savour the flavours. Try something new you think you hate, just to see what it’s like. Take a conversational break when you’re eating to pay attention to taste. You may find you don’t want the food you thought you would. You might enjoy a food you thought you wouldn’t. And, you’ll likely be much more discerning when choosing second portions. Take a break The movement of food from our mouths to the neural receptors in our digestive tract is not instantaneous. Our bodies need time to register the beginning of the digestive process. Take a moment between bites and plates. Most people require something around 20 minutes to realize on a psychophysical level that they are full. A mindful, well-rounded plate at a chatty dinner table will take around 30 minutes to devour. So before you head for a second round, ask yourself: “How full am I?” Then you’ll honestly be able to decide if you’d like dessert or just a post-dinner coffee. Consider special foods as zero-sum The term “zero-sum” refers to the idea that something is finite in size. If you take a slice of pie, then the
winter 2017 fraser health region
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amount of available pie is less; the pie won’t magically regenerate what’s gone. It can be helpful to think of our lifestyle choices in the same way. Your body is a finite resource. You might visualize your body as the pie, with only so much to take. If you eat a slice tonight, then you’ve only got so much left to take for the rest of the week, or the day. Tomorrow you’ll choose an apple so that the following day you’ve got ample pie left to enjoy. Manage the slices, and you’ll always have a bit left for that special occasion. After all, there’s nothing worse than showing up to a party with no pie left! Find other fun For many people, spending time with others means “eat and drink.” But our ancestral revellers also included “sing, perform, play instruments, duel, and debate philosophy” in their feast-time activities. Rather than meeting over a drink or dinner, try a painting your own pottery, playing a game of Frisbee, sharing travel photos, or attending a seasonal performance. If it’s connecting with family that we value, than these kinds of activities might actually be more fulfilling than walking home in a half-drunk food coma. And, if the people you’re seeing aren’t people that you particularly enjoy spending time with, then this provides ample distraction. Avoid slippery-slope thinking One of the reasons we become anxious and ashamed after a good get-together is because we think that just one luscious night will send us careening down a slippery slope of indulgence. We assume that if we give in to temptation once than we’ll surely give in again. Usually, this causes an obsessive guilt that is much more likely to cause us to act against our own healthy state of being. Following obsessive rules around food doesn’t give us a chance to enjoy moments and flavours. Give yourself, and your food, a chance. You’ll likely feel more satisfied, satiated, and self-loving.
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Delta Hospital Auxiliary Society Enriching the lives of the community Ian Jacques Contributing Writer
In the early 1960s, Ladner pioneer Lila Massey had the dream of building a hospital in the community. Those early days saw difficulty generating a lot of buzz and community support, but Massey, who was the first president of the Delta Hospital Auxiliary, was determined. Thanks to her determination and the determination of others, Delta Hospital continues to thrive today. “Lila got an initial group of ladies together and started to brainstorm ways to raise money for a hospital,” recalled Elaine Canning, the auxiliaries’ public relations coordinator. “Lila was a remarkable lady. It’s hard to imagine how far the auxiliary has come and where we would be had it not been for Lila and the couple of dozen volunteers that initially started meeting.” As Massey’s determination grew, so did the communities’ involvement and thanks to the auxiliary’s fundraising efforts, in 1977 the doors opened at Mountain View Manor, a residential care home. 1980 saw the opening of the acute area of Delta Hospital, which in turn improved the healthcare for Delta residents. In 1990 the auxiliary provided funds for laparoscopic surgery at Delta Hospital and in 1995 the auxiliary provided funding for 10 gynecological balloon ablation surgical trial procedures. This gained the hospital the recognition of being the first community hospital in North America to offer the new surgical procedure. “The 90s were tough times for the auxiliary and the community,” recalled Canning. “The hospital was almost closed down, but the community rallied, even so much as to circle the hospital in protest.” The community persevered and through the support of the auxiliary, more than $18 million has been raised over the years for state-of-the-art hospital equipment and projects. The auxiliary supports Mountain View Manor with a yearly contribution of $65,000 for recreation programs and music therapy. As an established member of Delta business community the Auxiliary Society owns and operates four commercial enterprises: Delta Lifeline, the Dogwood Gift Shop located in the lobby of the hospital, the Auxiliary Thrift 18
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Store in the heart of Ladner Village and the Courtyard Cafe in the hospital. The earnings from the auxiliary’s enterprises are directed back into the hospital providing equipment and services for the community. “The thrift shop is the envy of many auxiliaries around B.C.,” said auxiliary president Robbi Schultes. “We are very fortunate to have a really supportive community. We have really dedicated volunteers running it. It’s a small hospital, and we nearly lost it at one point, but the community and the volunteers are so supportive. We are just very lucky.” According to Schultes, people come from across the province to visit and shop in the thrift store. “We have very knowledgeable volunteers who appraise the antique furniture. We have jewelry experts, so you know what you are buying is reasonably priced and is a sound item,” she said. “During the Christmas season we convert a good part of the store into our Christmas store. It is very popular. The community waits for it every year.” The auxiliary currently boasts a membership of 400plus dedicated women and men volunteers who so far this year have invested 62,000 hours to the auxiliaries fundraising efforts. Last year that total was close to 100,000 volunteer hours. So far this year, $475,000 has been raised for priority medical equipment through the four main business operations as well as fantastic partnerships with the Delta Hospital Foundation. In 2019, the auxiliary will celebrate its 50th anniversary. They are planning a big event to recognize such a huge milestone, but before that, the many volunteers will continue to do what they do best — help out in the community they love to ensure that Delta Hospital meets the needs of the community. “Just remember when that white vehicle pulls up to the emergency room you want to be sure that the best is there for you and your family,” said Canning. “We are here to make this a strong hospital for the safety and well-being of our community and other communities that it serves.” To learn more about the Delta Hospital Auxiliary Society, visit deltahospitalauxiliary.org.
richmond hospital foundation A catalyst for transformational care Ian Jacques Contributing Writer
The Richmond Hospital Foundation is working to put the community’s hospital on a firmer foundation – literally. Set to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2017, since 1987 the foundation has raised more than $33 million to cater to the healthcare needs of the community. Funds have gone to upgrade vital, specialized equipment and renovate out-of-date hospital units. The foundation, through the generous support of donors, funds more than 85 per cent of all medical equipment at Richmond Hospital, which this year, marks its 50th anniversary.
Meixner said they began that work of serving everyone in their community by asking what was important to them as an organization. “We serve the whole community, so whether people are donors or not we take into consideration who lives here, who works here, who visits here, and then we decided what is important to us as we serve all these people,” she said. Funds are raised through a variety of means including events like their annual Starlight Gala and golf tournament as well as through outreach in the community. “We have very strong relationships with our donors,” she said. “A large percentage of the funds raised are from individual donors or families. We also have a number of people who leave a gift as part of their estate planning. There are also people in the community who host their own event and give the proceeds to the foundation for the work of the hospital and to support the hospital.” A good example of this is Grind for the Mind, whereby participants climb the Grouse Grind and collect pledges. A family that wanted to give back and support the hospital started the event a few years ago.
“The organization, as many foundations have been, started because the community wanted to make sure they had the best possibly health care that they could and that if donors made contributions they could help to bridge some of the gaps where government didn’t have the funding to do so,” said foundation president and CEO Natalie Meixner. “Our foundation has done quite a bit of work over the past five years to make sure we are serving all the people in our community and that we are inclusive.”
The north tower of Richmond Hospital is the original patient care tower that is now 50 years old, outdated and at risk of collapse in a moderate earthquake. The Richmond Hospital Foundation is working with the community to raise the necessary funds to replace the tower and help to transform health care for the better in Richmond.
“Five years ago it was identified that there was a need for families to play a greater role in mental health care,” Meixner said. “That’s where Grind for the Mind started and it has grown into building a new model of care. A number of donor families and individuals have come on board and we have raised $500,000 to change the way care is delivered through that new model.” She said Richmond Hospital has 22 programs that use this new approach to health care — getting family members involved in the delivery of care. “When the communities’ needs are served that way and the community comes together you really do have an impact,” she said. Being able to inspire joyful giving is one of the core values of the foundation. The philanthropic gifts of donors create a transformational impact and help ensure that patients receive the best care possible. continued on page 20
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richmond hospital foundation "It's not about one person, it's about thousands of people coming together..."
“In Richmond, this hospital was built when there were no seismic standards. The foundations’ values serve as The original building where half of our guidance for the work they do, and acute care patients are looked after they strive to provide the best quality is over 80 per cent deficient. This health care to those in need within the building needs to be replaced. It’s community. just old and not the way health care is delivered. The community needs a new Mexiner has been with the foundation natalie acute care tower. When I talk about for a little over five years. She lives in mexiner transformational change, that’s a big Richmond and is passionate about what thing to have make happen. It’s been she can contribute in her own community. 20 years in the works already and this community is coming together and will transform health care for the “I see my role and our organization, our foundation, better. whether it is staff or volunteers, as being the catalyst for transformational change,” she added. “Not all of “It’s not about one person, it’s about thousands of our volunteers or board members live in Richmond, people coming together to make it happen so the but they all have a connection, mine just happens to foundation is a catalyst.” be that I live here. continued from page 19
To learn more about the foundation, see www.richmondhospitalfoundation.com.
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fraser valley health care foundation Serving the needs of Fraser Valley East Ian Jacques Contributing Writer
Established in 2000, the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation helps to raise funds and promote the work and needs of four hospitals in Fraser Valley east. Abbotsford Regional Hospital, Mission Memorial Hospital, Fraser Canyon Hospital in Hope and Chilliwack General Hospital all fall under the support of the foundation. The foundation also supports residential care, home health, public health and mental health initiatives — all under the banner of the Fraser Health Authority.
equipment at a hospital, so we then talk with the donor and see what can be done.” The foundation has a number of projects currently under way or recently completed. A regional project, being supported through the Mount Cheam and Steller’s Jay Lions Clubs, is a $600,000 campaign to purchase two phacoemulsification systems used for cataract surgery at Chilliwack General Hospital. These new systems are designed to improve patient outcomes, enhance surgical control and provide a smoother procedure overall. Harris said more than 5,000 cataract procedures are done at Chilliwack General Hospital every year, so this equipment is of vital importance to the hospital. Also in Chilliwack, a much-needed echocardiogram machine was just recently purchased meaning residents will no longer have to travel to Abbotsford.
“We are unique in that we help support four hospitals, whereas most hospital foundations only support one,” said the foundation’s executive director Liz Harris. “It does offer up some unique challenges, but luckily the Fraser Valley is very beautiful, unique and very community orientated so that certainly helps.”
Mission Health Care Auxiliary purchased a new ultrasound machine for Mission Memorial Hospital.
Because the foundation works with communities to support each local hospital, facilities and programs run through Fraser Health, raising the necessary funds can be at times a daunting task. Harris said each year the foundation sits down with the directors at each hospital to discuss what their equipment needs are for the upcoming year. “They then provide us with a top three list of needs for each hospital site and our board will then approve what we will fundraise for,” said Harris. “We try to stick to just fundraise for those items, but sometimes donors want to pledge funds for a specific piece of 22
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Speaking of Abbotsford, the foundation is working to raise funds for an ultrasound machine. In Mission, funds are being raised for an endoscope, colonoscope and a Beamer Mate electrosurgical generator, and in Hope, a new bus was recently purchased for their adult day program. Fundraising activities are vast and $100,000 cheque presentation unique, just like the communities from Lions Club International Foundation towards the in which the foundation supports. Eye Centre Campaign. There are car shows, a large public Christmas party fundraiser in Chilliwack, a Run for Mom event, breakfast events, mall fashion shows and reaching out to the public for individual donations. “The most important thing is sharing with the public the impact that their donation will make with the piece of equipment that they buy,” said Harris. “We do this informational campaign through a monthly newsletter, educational events where we invite donors and the public to the hospitals to see the equipment and learn about what is needed. The more that we share, the more the public wants to support us.”
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Winter 2017 edition of Healthier You for Fraser Health Region...