Iona Wharton

Local couple surprises Hospice with a big gift

A local company saw a need and took it upon themselves to collect donations for the Campbell River Hospice Society

When a couple of local entrepreneurs went to the Campbell River Hospice Society office to offer technical support for its computers, they knew immediately that the society needed help.

“A job that should have taken minutes turned into many, many hours for them,” said Julie Collis, director of operations for the Hospice Society. “At that point (they) decided that our computers, in particular, our software which was from the 1990s needed to be replaced.”

So Geoff and Janet Smith, owners of GCS Technology Services Inc., set out on a personal mission to replace the old equipment.

“We’ve been looking after them (Hospice) pro bono and we asked why they were working with such old equipment,” Janet said. “They told us that government funding is not available (for new computers) and that the money fundraised in the community goes towards running their programs. It was falling through the cracks.”

Iona Wharton, director of programs and services with the Hospice Society, said the computers were at least 12 years old, ran incredibly slow and were badly in need of replacement.

GCS recognized the need and the Smiths took it upon themselves to surprise the Hospice Society and start their own fundraising campaign to buy brand new computers for the non-profit society.

The Hospice Y2K Project was launched and the Smiths hit up their friends, family and business partners for donations.

Their efforts netted them $2,537 with $1,000 of that coming from Seymour Pacific.

Amanda Raleigh of Seymour Pacific said the company got involved after she met the Smiths at the Vancouver Island Business Awards.

“I was approached and asked if we wanted to be a partner and we thought it was an excellent opportunity to get involved with Hospice and a great way to start a relationship,” Raleigh said.

And on Tuesday, the Smiths’ presented the Hospice with four brand-new computers, software and related equipment.

The Hospice is extremely grateful to the Smiths and everyone who donated.

“Hospice would like to thank everyone in our community who supported and donated towards our Y2K project,” Collis said. “We can’t thank everyone enough for these new computers. It’ll be so nice to work with new equipment.”