Sheep River Health Trust aims to raise $500,000 in two years
Health: Funds for families, youths, seniors, community care and medical equipment
By: By Tanya Kostiw
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 06:00 am
The Sheep River Health Trust is hoping foothills residents will dig deep into their hearts and pockets to help fund important services in the community.
Earlier this month, the health trust launched its Drive for 5 campaign with the goal to raise $500,000 in two years. Funds will go towards five areas of health and wellness: families, youths, seniors, community care and medical equipment.
The biggest priority for funding is the Foothills Children’s Wellness Network, an organization recently launched, which co-ordinates various services to prevent and promote the early identification of childhood problems, said health trust executive director Sarah Hughes. Another big priority for the Sheep River Health Trust is its school meal program, which provides meals to students in several foothills schools, said Hughes. Last year, the program served thousands of meals, which helps students learn, she explained.
“Any teacher will tell you that a kid who’s had their lunch and had their breakfast is able to concentrate and is able to perform way better in the classroom,” Hughes said.
While providing a meal might seem simple the payback is infinite as it helps students learn and can affect their future, she said.
Funds raised in the campaign will also help purchase medical equipment, which is part of the Sheep River Health Trust’s role, she said.
“The question often comes, why isn’t Alberta Health Services buying the equipment if it’s so needed?” Hughes explained. “It’s like kids and parents. Your parents can’t buy you every single thing that you want or that you need, so you have to prioritize. Alberta Health Services has some things they would love to buy and they can’t afford to and that’s why the trust is here.”
The Sheep River Health Trust has bought three halter monitors for the Oilfields Hospital, which are advanced blood pressure/heart monitors that patients can take home for 24 hours, while being linked to the hospital, she said.
Black Diamond is one of the only rural areas in Alberta to have a halter monitor and without them patients would have to go all the way to Calgary, Hughes said.
“Essentially if we didn’t have these down here, people in the our community would have to be on a waiting list to get one from either the Foothills Hospital or the Rockyview (General Hospital) and they would have to go out of their community and be set up,” she said.
The funds will support efforts to keep seniors active and help them remain in the foothills, said Hughes. Other programs that would benefit from the campaign include palliative, spiritual, home care and adult day support.
“For us it’s about prioritizing, keeping people where they need to be, where they’ve lived their lives and where their families are and where their support is and we support programs that will enable people when needed to be here,” she said.
Additional funds could help pay for more staff members and facilities, she said, adding palliative care helps the patient’s family members too by considering if they have somewhere comfortable to sit and somewhere to eat.
“Just the little, the extra touches – that’s what we can help out with so that it’s less painful to take away some of the stress,” Hughes said.
To help with the fundraising campaign, the Sheep River Health Trust is organizing its ninth annual Golf For Wellness Tournament, which is always a sell-out event, she said. The tournament will be held July 19 and more information will be released in the coming weeks.
Hughes said there are no other events planned yet, but the trust is trying to drum up local support and is looking for volunteers.
“Anybody that has an idea for an event or wants to get involved we’d love to hear from them,” she said.
The Sheep River Health Trust applies for grant support and receives a little provincial government and corporate funding, but relies on individual donations and funds raised through campaigns, such as its Points of Light campaign which raised nearly $20,000 during the holiday season last year, although the Drive for 5 campaign is the first of its kind, she said.
Last year, the health trust raised $85,000 from the golf tournament and $45,000 through individual and corporate donations, Hughes said.
This year, the health trust is hoping to raise an extra $100,000 which Hughes said is quite a bit of money, but they hope to attract more volunteers. Part of the campaign is outlining what the health trust has done in the community, as some people might be aware of the programs but not the organization behind them, she added.
For more on the Sheep River Health Trust visit sheepriverhealthtrust.ca.