When they’re not putting out fires, local firefighters battle to make life better for children at Victoria General Hospital.
Firefighters from Saanich, Oak Bay, Victoria and Esquimalt fire departments gathered at the hospital on Oct. 19 to present a cheque for $25,000 for the pediatric and neonatal intensive care units. The donation is part of a pledge made in 2011 to raise $250,000 by the Professional Firefighters of Greater Victoria Charitable Foundation.
Several young patients were on hand to thank the firefighters for their fundraising efforts with a colourful thank you card they made.
Saanich firefighter Joel Jackson said it was an honour to receive the card and spend a little time with the children and their families.
“Visiting the hospital and seeing the kids and families who rely on us is so touching,” he said. “We are absolutely dedicated to helping our local hospital offer the best care to the children in our community.”
It’s rewarding to know the money will go toward equipment that will be used to make a substantial impact on the care professionals provide, he added.
Patient Kaileigh Carlson, 9, said she was happy to work on the card and excited about meeting the firefighters and getting to sit in a fire truck.
The money donated today is marked for the purchase of two bilirubin analyzers for the maternity and pediatric units.
The handheld, completely non-invasive instruments enable a quick test that is not traumatic for babies to monitor high levels of bilirubin, commonly known as jaundice.
Victoria Hospital Foundation board chair John Madden said the organization is extremely grateful for the Professional Firefighters of Greater Victoria Charitable Foundation’s long-term commitment and passion.
“Their incredible generosity and community spirit is helping hundreds of sick children and babies receive the diagnoses and treatment they need, close to home,” he noted. “Better tools and equipment mean better health-care services for our children.”
The $25,000 brings the total donated to $150,000. An infant resuscitation unit, a ventilator and a vital signs monitor are some of purchases made possible through fundraising initiatives such as the firefighters calendar, Rock and Roll for Little Souls, Fashion Inferno, Oak Bay Sausagefest and Esquimalt Ribfest.