Victoria, BC — The Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s campaign, You Are Vital: Pediatrics has reached an important milestone: the larger Vancouver Island community has contributed over $1 million of the campaign’s $1.8 million goal. The campaign addresses the critical need for 40 new monitors in the Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (NICU + PICU) at Victoria General Hospital (VGH). Another $800,000 is left to raise, and they are seeking community support.

“Our supporters are vital, and their generosity is felt everywhere in this community,” says Victoria Hospitals Foundation Acting Executive Director, Avery Brohman. “Over the past two months, we have expressed the critical need for new patient monitors, and our community has responded. On behalf of our dedicated pediatric caregivers and the many children they care for, I would like to express our most heartfelt gratitude. We are hopeful to complete this campaign very soon and have the new monitors installed in our neonatal and pediatric units.”

To date, over 1,000 individuals have supported the campaign through online donations, direct responses, corporate giving, legacy gifts and special initiatives. The community has rallied and organized important events in support of the campaign, including the first annual Victoria Wing Fest and KidsRun, and received a gift from the Professional Firefighters of Greater Victoria Community Foundation. The CIBC Wood Gundy’s O’Brien Investment Group came forward to match $40,000 over five days, raising $80,000 to fund two of the critically-needed patient monitors in the PICU.

“We want the best care, the best equipment, and the best doctors. We know giving makes us better and the need for equipment will never stop,” says O’Brien Investment Group Associate Investment Advisor, Jessica O’Brien Cameron. “To see our community and people from all over British Columbia respond through donations and on social media was most powerful.”

One in eight children treated at VGH spends time in the PICU every year, which provides intensive care for children 0-17 years of age with severe cardiac and respiratory complications, infections, or those involved with tragic accidents. The VGH PICU is only one of two such units in the province, and accepts transfers from Vancouver Island and the rest of British Columbia. Patients in these units need continuous monitoring of vital signs, including heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.

Since the campaign launch on May 8, 2019, the Foundation has released incredible stories of local children and their families, highlighting our talented, specialized pediatrics caregivers and the equipment they rely on:

  • Eli and Cache (VIDEO) were born six years ago at only 27 weeks. While from Terrace, the family was rushed to VGH, referral centre for Maternity & Pediatrics. The twins were admitted to its high-level NICU, which saved their lives.
  • Eliza has spent a third of her life in VGH’s PICU. Her unique, undiagnosed auto-immune disease has left her in critical condition multiple times. She was the inspiration behind the Victoria Wing Fest event which supported the PICU through the campaign.
  • Jack was five-years-old when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Now cancer free, his family and community have given back to pediatric oncology services through KidsRun.
  • Nurses Cloe and Ashley share in a Q&A what they admire most about their tiny patients.
  • Twins Olivia and Audrey weighed a mere 2-lbs, 1-ounce and 1-lb, 11-ounces when they were born at VGH last February. For 79 days, they received excellent care in the NICU where their care team relied on patient monitors that alerted them at every moment.
  • Sunny Bawa honoured his son’s care at VGH with a donation in tribute to his own father and grandfather.
  • CIBC Wood Gundy’s O’Brien Investment Group shares the reason behind their giving: a personal connection to the PICU.
  • Benjamin was born at VGH on April 24 at just over 31 weeks gestation. He weighed only four pounds and three ounces. He was quickly transferred to the NICU where the care team and patient monitors were vital in helping him start his new life.

The campaign will close when the remaining $800,000 has been raised. The Foundation aims to complete You Are Vital: Pediatrics by the end of August or earlier.

This is the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s largest Spring campaign to date and its first pediatrics-only campaign in five years. Contributions can be made by donating online at www.victoriahf.ca/vitalkids, calling 250-519-1750 or mailing to Wilson Block, 1952 Bay Street, Victoria BC, V8R 1J8.

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