Hospitals foundation launches ambitious campaign

Leslee Farrell never minded wearing a hard hat and work boots.

But now that she doesn’t have to when she tours the new patient care centre at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, she’s thrilled. It’s a sign the March opening of the state-of-the-art facility is just around the corner.

And that means Farrell’s volunteer responsibilities are heating up.

It’ll be up to Farrell, her co-chair Ted Hughes and their 11-member volunteer team of community leaders to help the Victoria Hospitals Foundation raise $25 million through its Building Care Together capital campaign.

Money raised over the next year and a half will pay for new equipment, such as sophisticated send-and-store patient data to their electronic records.

Already more than $10 million in pledges has been generated over the past year and a half, much of it within the past six months, including $2 million a week before the Jan. 19 campaign launch.

“We were so proud to speak with a double digit,” said Farrell, a Victoria real estate agent. “It is very exciting.

“It’s actually the most important campaign we’ve ever been involved in.”

In fact, it’s the foundation’s most ambitious undertaking. But that’s because “the need is there,” she said. “We will do it. We have to do it.”

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation, together with the Vancouver Island Health Authority, funds about 40 per cent of capital equipment purchases for the Royal Jubilee and the Victoria General hospitals.

A 1997 campaign raised more than $12 million, and in 2004 more than $17 million was generated.

Farrell has toured the patient care centre three times and marvels at the progress that transformed the facility into a 500-bed world-class achievement.

“They’ve thought of everything,” said Farrell. “Until you walk through it, that’s when you realize we’re very blessed in Victoria.”

To donate, please visit www.buildingcare.ca.

emccracken@vicnews.com