Back on May 25, 1956, seven people got together to find ways to raise funds to help with the operation of the Campbell River and District General Hospital.
That group of seven set to work organizing dances and mobile cart services through their organization named the Campbell River Hospital Auxiliary which is celebrating its 65th anniversary of providing care and comfort to the Campbell River Hospital. From its humble beginning, more than $5 million has been raised and used to purchase equipment to be donated to the hospital.
The way that money is raised has changed over the last seven decades. In 1962, the auxiliary opened its first Thrift Shop and after renting numerous locations for many years, the members decided it was finally time to construction their own building. Thanks to the dedication of five visionary members who took out personal loans to finance the build, the Thrift Shop opened its doors at its current location at 415 – 2nd Ave on Feb. 23, 1968. Thanks to community support and strong sales, it took only two years to repay the loans instead of the previously estimated time of five years. Nine years later, the auxiliary opened the Hospital Gift Shop.
The auxiliary’s mission statement is “To provide care and comfort to everyone who utilizes the Campbell River Hospital.” Volunteers in the Wellness Centre show patients the way to their appointments, offering them a cookie and a beverage. The auxiliary supports both a music therapy program for patients and an education fund. The fun provides bursaries for hospital staff professional development and to secondary school students hoping to enter the field of medicine. In 65 years, education bursaries have totaled over $100,000.
the more than $5 million in equipment donated to the hospital has included such things as wheelchairs, bladder scanners and vein finders. Recently the auxiliary donated a phototherapy UVI light booth for treating patients with skin conditions. Things such as the estate-of-the-art mammography unit, ultrasound machine and portable ultrasound machines have also made a notable difference in the care of patients. All of this helps hospital staff provide patients with the best of care and the most current equipment.
The Campbell River community, by supporting the Hospital Gift Shop and Thrift Shop and by donating gently used items that can be sold in the Thrift Shop, has been instrumental in the auxiliary’s success. The auxiliary is completely operated by volunteers and received no financial grants or support from the provincial Gaming Fund.
For the members of the auxiliary, volunteering with the organization is a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
“For the past 56 years I have enjoyed being part of a group of enthusiastic and hard-working volunteers dedicated to bettering patients’ lives in our hospital,” past-president Sharon Helina said. “Being a member has been personally rewarding as our service is so beneficial to the Campbell River community. Memorable moments have included funding projects such as the Birthing Room, the original helicopter pad, the extended care van for patients, the secure observation room and the Wellness Centre.”