An incredible day all around for local health care
by Sandy Lindsay

December 15, 2016



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Light the Way Honourary Chairman John Divinski

Hospital Foundation donates to Grey Bruce Hospital Service (GBHS)
(L-R) Sara Dolbeck, Joan Vaughan, Sally Kidson, Sue Dunlop and Jonna Ebel

It was an incredible day all around for local health care in Saugeen Shores. on Thursday, December 15th.

The first Saugeen Shores radiothon, 'Light the Way Day' fundraiser for the Saugeen Memorial Hospital Foundation was the brainchild of the campaign's Honourary Chair and radio personality, John Divinski.

The day began at 6:00 a.m. and ended at 6:00 p.m.  The goal?  To raise $50,000 for the local hospital equipment needs that are not funded by the government.

As the day started, telephone calls began to come in to 98theBeach radio station in Port Elgin.  With a complete new phone system donated and set up for the event by the local telephone company, Bruce Telecom, calls were taken by hospital and Auxiliary volunteers.

Hospital Accounting Officer Sara Dolbeck (L) kept track of the numbers and Hospital Board member Sue Dunlop took calls

John Divinski and Jonna Ebel (Hospital Foundation Chair) took their turns on the phones

"This has been unbelievable," said Sally Kidson, Executive Director of the Hospital Foundation.  "Even local businesses that knew volunteers were here for the long haul, have brought food in all day long ... Pizza Delight, Lord Elgin Fish & Chips, Tim Hortons and our own home-baking by volunteers."

While the weatherman dropped a 'weather bomb' of snow squalls that closed the highway and roads, it didn't stop people from donating.  While most of the donations were done either on-line or by phone, others still made it in to the radio station.

Sally Kidson accepts a donation of $400 from Jeff Carver, owner of the Wismer House in Port Elgin, who made it in to the station,

When the day started out, Honourary Chair Divinski said that if they could reach their goal "... it would be wonderful!" 

It was not to be however.  As the day progressed and the numbers kept adding up, it became obvious that the goal would not only be met but would be far surpassed!

Volunteers and radio personnel kept saying that they could not believe the response.  Local organizations and sports teams challenged others to meet donations, callers donated in memory of family members, real estate companies challenged each other and the numbers kept adding up.

There were many touching stories that came with the donations. Saugeen Shores Police Officer (ret'd), Doug Lein, donated $500  and told the story of his son, who at a young age was run down by a drinking driver and is today a paraplegic. 

Then, at 4:00 p.m. a special one-hour, on-air auction began for a special item ... a framed and signed and authenticated NHL Sidney Crosby Philadelphia hockey sweater. Ken Dolbeck of Dot Net Computers in Port Elgin had the winning bid of $550.

Click the orange arrow to read the second column

Jennifer Haessler with sons Ewan and Cayden made it in to the station and donated $500 ...

and had their photo taken with John Divinski ...

... and sang Jingle Bellls on air with Mike Brough

As the clock for the radiothon wound down, the goal was met and surpassed and the calls still kept coming in.  At the end of the day, a total of more than $64,000 was raised but it still isn't the final number.  On-line pledges are still being tallied and a challenge to the local Winterhawks Senior Hockey team at $100 per goal scored at Friday night's game against the Durham Thundercats, has yet to come in.

"I just can't believe this day," said Divinski.  "I've been losing sleep over it and now the numbers are just astounding.  It really shows how people feel about keeping health care close to home in their own hospital."

The campaign is still on-going.  "Our equipment needs this year total some $150,000," says Hospital Foundation Executive Director, Sally Kidson. "This radiothon thanks to Bayshore Broadcasting will make an incredible difference but we still have a way to go to meet out target.  The funds will go toward cardiac monitoring equipment, patient furniture, beds and monitoring equipment."

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Saturday, December 17, 2016