Esquimalt firefighters Andrew Zado and Chris Carragher crouch with Quinn Tyrrell

Esquimalt firefighters Andrew Zado and Chris Carragher crouch with Quinn Tyrrell

Firefighters give big to pediatrics at Victoria General Hospital

For her first breaths of life, Lucy Hannah had a hole in her lung. Wade McReynolds weighed two pounds when he saw the light of day as a preemie at 29 weeks. Victoria General Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit became home to their parents.

For her first breaths of life, Lucy Hannah had a hole in her lung. Wade McReynolds weighed two pounds when he saw the light of day as a preemie at 29 weeks. Victoria General Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit became home to their parents.

A year or a few years later, these kids and dozens of others run and play at the 27th annual NICU reunion at the hospital, as parents swap stories and give hugs to medical staff who saved their children’s lives. About 500 newborns per year go through the NICU.

“It was really hard at the time. The doctors and nurses were so helpful, they gave such good care,” said Katie Hannah, mother of one-year-old Lucy and her twin Emma. The girls were 33-week preemies.

“Nurses and moms really bond when you’re in there. It’s an intense time. When I see them I give them a big hug, and the doctors too.”

Nicole and Trevor McReynolds help two-year-old Wade blow bubbles at the outdoor party, and recalled a lot of tough hours and days at the NICU. Nicole’s water broke at 23 weeks and she had to lie still for six weeks before her son was born.

“They said the chances of him surviving and without problems was not good at all. But there’s nothing wrong with him,” Nicole said. “He’s as healthy as anything. He’s a real little miracle.”

These stories of survival and strength of the smallest patients highlighted the importance of a long term gift announced Thursday – professional firefighters in Greater Victoria are donating $25,000 per year for the next 10 years to VGH pediatric care.

Saanich, Victoria, Oak Bay and Esquimalt fire departments, under the Professional Firefighters of Greater Victoria Foundation, will direct their fundraising cash to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, which in turn will direct it to equipment in the NICU and pediatric unit.

“Sustainable funding is different for us. Pledging $250,000 over 10 years allows us to do planning around that. It’s fantastic,” said Starr McMichael, chair of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. “It also shows people in the community what can be done. These firefighters risk their lives everyday for us. They really have gone beyond the call of duty.

“It’s money well spent on saving the lives of the tiniest people.”

Saanich firefighter Jared Barker said aiming for $25,000 per year comes on the backs of firefighters who have established strong fundraising networks and events.

“We sat around and got an idea of what each department is capable of doing. The advantage we have as firefighter is that we have no hidden costs, this is done as volunteer work,” Barker said.

“We’re just blue collar guys who have got the opportunity to do this. We want to help Vancouver Island’s tiniest patients and their families. We are all thrilled to be working on such a critical project.”

The VGH pediatric unit delivers 2,700 babies per year and all hospital births in Greater Victoria. Ninety per cent of injured and sick children on Vancouver Island are treated at VGH.

The firefighter donation isn’t yet earmarked for anything specific in pediatrics, but it won’t take long for the doctors and staff to draw up wish lists. Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Brian Sinclair said the unit’s greatest challenge is the capital cost of new equipment – incubators, vital sign monitors and ventilators eventually need replacing.

“We know we’ll need equipment updates and new technology, and knowing this money is there is great,” Sinclair said. “When the need comes up, this contribution will be in the back of our minds.”

Neonatologist Dr. Cherrie Tan-Dy has her eye on updating the NICU family room, where aging furniture and a couple beds allow out-of-town parents to catch a few moments of rest.

“Some preemies require intensive care for a long time. Babies can be in the NICU for four months at a time,” Tan-Dy said. “Every year we want to improve the family room, but it’s always at the bottom of the list. Maybe this can help make it happen.”

For donate to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, see www.victoriahf.ca.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Most Read