Wednesday , 6 July 2022
Cold Lake hospital manager Cathi Garon, left, joined on-stage at the gala by Hearts for Healthcare president Kim Coosemans. Image credit: Art Pena.

Hearts for Healthcare holds first fundraising gala in three years

The hope is the fundraising can go towards five physicians and an infusion clinic. 

It’s been three years since Hearts for Healthcare could hold their biggest fundraising night of the year, but that came to fruition on May 14th.

The 11th gala to support physician recruitment and retention, plus improving services for Cold Lake health care services, saw over 600 tickets sold for gala-goers, plus over 100 volunteers come together to make the event possible.

Artist Ten Soujiers played to a packed house at the Cold Lake Energy Center as the evening’s entertainment, while several live auction items delighted attendees.

“It was really nice to just see all the different businesses and faces out there coming together,” said Kari Leiper, executive director. 

She explained that H4H has been rolling with the punches over the past couple of years to fulfill their mandates of supporting local health care, but hopes physician recruitment along with the funds for a designated infusion clinic, can improve resident’s health care.

“We had three superior level sponsors this year, the City of Cold Lake, M.D. of Bonnyville, and Imperial Cold Lake, and they’ve supported the recruitment and retention initiative. Our hope is that we will bring in about five physicians this year,” said Leiper, as each of those sponsors supported the effort with $30,000. 

“The other one was a community cash appeal for the Cold Lake Primary Care Network…they were asking for recruitment specifically for an infusion clinic. That would provide some equipment that would increase the capacity for them to provide that service in the area, get people out of the ER, which is where they currently run the clinic through.” 

In year’s past, Hearts for Healthcare has fundraised for specific pieces of equipment, like a ventilator or a panda warmer.

By funding a designated space for an infusion clinic at the Cold Lake PCN, resident’s wait times at emerge could go down by hours, says H4H vice-president, Jennifer Cory.

“An infusion clinic is a clinic where you get IV treatments essentially,” said Cory. “Historically, in Cold Lake, if you needed IV treatments, and you’re not admitted to hospital, you would come in through emerge and get it done…But there’s a better use of emergency services in our community.

“If there’s a true life-threatening emergency, you get bumped and people can wait for hours and hours for a treatment that might take an hour tops. And so you’re sitting in emerge for six hours for a one hour treatment. It’s not beneficial for anybody.” 

This fundraising goal would see money set aside for an infusion pump at the PCN, as the clinic has arranged for the proper staffing levels.

“We just want to thank everyone who purchased tickets, everyone that donated towards the auction items, the silent auction and live auction. It was really wonderful to see everyone come out and rally together for the hospital and the health care facilities in our area. It was really, really huge of the City of Cold Lake, M.D. of Bonnyville and Imperial Cold Lake to step up as our superior sponsors for the evening,” said Leiper. 

Other major sponsors included Cenovus Energy, Stuart Olson, Lakeland Credit Union, and Canadian Natural Resources for $10,000 each.

Hearts for Healthcare is planning on returning to an in-person Mega Bounce Run in the fall, with virtual options as well.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.