Auxiliary winds down after 36 years of tireless support for local healthcare
Story by Amelia Schofield
Over the past 36 years, the Cold Lake Healthcare Centre Ladies Auxiliary has made an undeniable difference in the lives of patients and healthcare providers at the Cold Lake Healthcare Centre. A tea was recently held at the Healthcare Centre to recognize the group, which has decided to wind down operations.
“Since we were established in 1986, the Auxiliary has contributed nearly $200,000 to healthcare enhancements in our community,” says Sue Carter, President of the auxiliary.
“Most recently, we contributed nearly $9,600 to purchase an ABBY computer system which long-term care residents can interact with during recreation therapy. We also donated $18,000 to purchase three Medfusion wireless syringe infusion pumps, including accessories and software, for acute care and the emergency department.”
A long-term care patient enjoys time on the new ABBY system, a wall-mounted interactive computer, at Cold Lake Healthcare Centre. The ABBY provides meaningful activity and stimulation for residents with dementia and can be used as part of the long-term care residents’ recreation therapy program. The system was funded by the Cold Lake Healthcare Centre Ladies Auxiliary.
Carter also shares that the auxiliary has actively supported education of healthcare professionals over the years.
“In 1990, we started a bursary program for community members pursuing a career in healthcare. The number of bursaries per year and amount varied over the years, but through the program, we have provided $16,000 to support students with their education.”
Over the years, auxiliary members have volunteered thousands of hours of their time to support the Healthcare Centre. The auxiliary has raised funds a variety of ways, including through a gift shop, vending machines, the sale of paperback novels, and TV and phone rentals in the Healthcare Centre, as well as baking and craft sales each fall, Christmas and Easter.
After many years of serving the community, Carter adds that the auxiliary has made the difficult decision to wind up its operations.
“We made this decision for many different reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolving needs of the community,” she says. “We’ve also had difficulties with recruiting new volunteers. We understand it’s a big time commitment and it’s often challenging for people to dedicate the amount of time that’s involved.”
Despite this difficult decision, the auxiliary’s contributions to healthcare centre won’t be soon forgotten.
“These ladies have tirelessly supported our Healthcare Centre and healthcare in our community over the last 36 years. They have provided comfort, compassion and caring during what is often some of the most difficult and sometimes most joyous times of our lives,” says Sharon Winik, Area Manager, Allied Health Services, Area 8 with Alberta Health Services.
“The auxiliary has always been here for us. Whether it’s been being able to buy flowers at the giftshop; a cup of coffee after being up all night in emergency; picking up a book from the book cart to help ease your mind while waiting for news; having a beautiful knitted toque to take your newborn home with; being given a stuffed toy for your child during an emergency room visit; or having a visit with a volunteer while your phone or TV is being hooked up on acute care. All these comfort measures add up to so much — and have contributed greatly — to helping us care for our patients and our community.”
Adele Richardson, Manager, Cold Lake Healthcare Centre, adds: “We’re so grateful to the Cold Lake Ladies Auxiliary for their many years of committed service to the community.
“We will always appreciate their many contributions to local healthcare — and they will be deeply missed by our patients and staff.”