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Fundraising campaign underway for Estevan MRI scanner

The foundation has committed to raising $6.5 million for the MRI scanner.
St. Joseph's Hospital
St. Joseph's Hospital.

ESTEVAN - The St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation has officially launched its fundraising campaign to bring an MRI scanner to the hospital.

The foundation has posted a campaign on its website. It has details on why the MRI is needed and the different ways for people to donate.

The campaign is already at $2 million of its $6.5 million goal, thanks to the contribution that Elaine Walkom made in memory of her late husband Grant.

"Because of Elaine Walkom's persistence and her generous pledge to donate that unbelievable $2 million, we'll have the opportunity to be part of this, to be part of making St. Joseph's MRI a reality. So, it's pretty exciting," said SJHF executive director Lori Gervais.

The foundation has been planning for the campaign to start, she said, but they couldn't proceed until getting the green light from the provincial government, which came through Wednesday's provincial budget. She has been working closely with the Impact Creative marketing company, and they have been preparing for the go-ahead.

"Our community always has stood up and supported our shared vision of accessible and high-quality health care, always," said Gervais. "Anytime we go to the community with fundraising goals and needs, they've always been willing to contribute financially or spread awareness or participate in whatever kind of fundraising that we've got going on, and I'm sure they'll continue to do that."

The purchase and installation will benefit people in Estevan and throughout the southeast because it will reduce travel costs, she said. The foundation will be looking to spread awareness of the project throughout the region.

And it will reduce MRI wait times in the province.

Proceeds of this year's Radiothon for Life, which is a key fundraiser for the foundation, will be directed towards the MRI campaign. The event will take place June 5.

"We're going to continue to reach out. We've had the meetings in the past with the RMs to make them all aware of what's happening and what our fundraising goals are going to be," said Gervais.

She hopes the $6.5 million can be in place within 18 months.

Gervais said it was certainly exciting to find out Estevan would get a scanner.

"It was sounding promising right from the beginning. It did sound like Corey Miller (the president and CEO of Emmanuel Health) has done such a good job of the proposal and was very knowledgeable in the entire process, and I really don't think we ever really thought they were going to deny the whole thing once they got all of the information."

The business case for the scanner showed the total cost, including capital equipment, building and renovation costs, and staff training and start-up expenses, would be $6,266,000, including taxes. The foundation has committed to raising $6.5 million to provide for a contingency.

Renovating the diagnostic imaging area, where the MRI will be located, is to be the most expensive component of the project, Miller said, as it would cost about $3.88 million.

During the fundraising for the MRI, the hospital foundation will also continue to fundraise to meet the other needs of the hospital.