Park: Origins of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation

  • May. 24, 2017 12:30 a.m.

Thanks to the Red Deer Advocate for the opportunity to write in its publication. For my first article in a new series, I’d like to introduce myself and my organization. My name is Iaian Park and I am the executive director for the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation. We are the primary fundraising organization for the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Although we fundraise, the heart of what we do is storytelling. We tell the story of the hospital – the primary recipient of the funds we raise. We tell the stories of the patients who are the beneficiaries of the funding we provide to the hospital. We tell the stories of more than 2,000 volunteers who join us in our commitment to enhance health care in Central Alberta.

And we also tell the stories of our donors; the lifeline of our organization. Donors provide funding because they believe in what we do. They believe in enhancing health care for Central Albertans, and they believe in making a difference.

Today, I am going to tell you our story. Since 1994, the foundation has worked as a charitable, non-profit organization, raising and disbursing funds for programs, services and the purchase of medical equipment for hospitals and facilities administered by the David Thompson Regional Health Authority No. 6.

In 2009, with the changing of the David Thompson Health Region to Central Zone, the Foundation adjusted accordingly, making the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre more the focus of its attention. The name of the foundation was thus changed to the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation.

But the foundation’s real story is much more important.

To date we have raised more than $62 million for health care in Central Alberta. These dollars have provided equipment and services that have not only enhanced health care, but in some cases allowed for services or equipment that were previously only available in Edmonton or Calgary.

In recent months, our story has taken us into the labour and delivery unit with the addition of two new operating theatres, funded through Festival of Trees and our Love of Children Golf Classic.

Previously, mothers needing surgery to deliver had to be rushed from the second floor to the first floor of the hospital – actually waiting for an elevator to make the trip. When minutes and seconds quite literally count, the elevator wait could be the difference between a great outcome and a fatal one. Life and death. I am proud to say that because of the generosity of Central Albertans, the foundation was able to provide $1.2 million dollars’ worth of equipment to this project. This is a story we’re grateful to share, and it’s just one more story of how donors make a difference.

And our gratitude doesn’t stop there. Our Love of Children Golf tournament recently funded 10 infant isolettes to the intensive care unit for babies. These isolettes will ensure our youngest Central Albertans are safe and warm to help them have the best possible start in life. The isolettes bring enhanced health care to Central Alberta as well as peace of mind for the parents whose infants require them. Six days after the isolettes arrived in shipping and receiving, the first little patient, baby Avry, was tucked securely inside, and we are happy to report is doing great!

These are only a few of the hundreds of stories we look forward to sharing with you. It is a privilege to work with donors and volunteers who want to help enhance health care for their fellow citizens. Without their funding and time, we wouldn’t be able to provide state-of-the art equipment to our hospital. On behalf of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation, we say thank you.

Iaian Park is the executive director of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation.

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