Photos by Denise Cooperwhite

The Milton District Hospital Foundation (MDHF) started out with a goal of raising $30 million towards the hospital expansion. They held their annual Gift of Life Gala May 27, 2017 at Rattlesnake Point Golf Club. Emcee Peter Conteducca compared the fundraising drive to a race. “We’re on the final lap,” he described. The foundation has raised $29 million so far.

The evening’s theme was the Northern Lights. It was carried right through the event from a menu which included salmon from British Columbia and Alberta beef to a performance from the White Pine Dancers from Brantford Ontario.  It included both a live auction, and a silent auction.

It also included A Cause within a Cause. In years past, funds raised through campaigns like this would have been dedicated towards a specific piece of equipment such as an incubator. This year it was dedicated towards naming rights for a room, a bench, or a pod within the emergency room. This was part of the live auction, where naming rights went to the highest bidder.

Marlon and Kerry-Ann Rohden were at the gala for the first time. Their 3-year old daughter was born in the maternity ward at Milton Hospital. “We had the best care,” Kerry-Ann said of the experience. The expansion will include a new maternal newborn unit housing nine labour birthing recovery post-partum rooms, and a dedicated operating room for planned and emergency caesarean sections.

The provincial government provides funding to build, and operate hospitals. It does not provide money for equipment. It’s events such as the hospital gala that help fundraise for the equipment. “We have to be able to fund equipment. This (gala) is something to help provide the doctors and nurses with the equipment that they need,” Marlon said. The new diagnostic imaging department will include the hospital’s first ever Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine.

The expansion will add an additional 330,000 sq. ft. including a new emergency room, and surgical suites. The hospital will move from a 29 bed medical/ surgical floor to two 36 bed units, 80% of which will be private rooms.  The reached substantial completion in April, 2017.  It is due to begin serving patients in October. For more information on Milton District Hospital Foundation including how to donate, and volunteer visit: www.mdhf.ca

Laura Steiner
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