The Starlight Campaign begins its tenth annual fundraising drive on November 1 and runs until December 31. Last year they met their goals very quickly and raised $600,000 to purchase a permanent MRI, but this year will be more challenging, according to Brenna Baker, Executive Director of East Kootenay Foundation for Health (EKFH).
“This year what we’re focusing on are all the smaller things that make the biggest difference. So we put out the call to all our facilities within our region and they came back we just asked for a list of items that are under $5000.”
EKFH funds five hospitals, five care homes and multiple health care facilities in a region covering Cranbrook, Creston, Kimberley and the Elk Valley. According to their press release, there is a $3 million gap in funding needed for essential equipment. They hope to raise $200,000 this year in order to purchase things like blood pressure cuffs, wheelchairs and monitors.
“The list is extensive,” said Baker. “And then there’s lots of patient comfort items too that you don’t think need funding but they do like hospital grade furniture that they need in some of the waiting areas of some of the health care facilities.”
Last year they focused on raising funds for the MRI, but Baker explained that if people wanted their money to go elsewhere, for example to a hospital or care facility that housed a family member, they could do that as well.
“People can direct their funds where they want them to go but the majority of them [last year] did go to the MRI and that those things are easier to raise funds for,” explained Baker.
“So I think my goal this year is to really raise awareness on everything that the foundation does fund and even though this isn’t the MRI or the ICU or a new emergency room, all of these smaller things are just as important for health care, so it’s a bit trickier that way I think.
“People want to fund the bigger ticket items, but we’re in desperate need actually for funds this year just as much as we were for the MRI.”
Baker provided another example of one of these lesser known needs. This week she was in the Golden Hospital where she learned that they have a pressing need for specialized equipment for newborns.
“It’s a lifesaving piece of equipment,” she said, “but it’s not a high priority because they only deliver 70 some babies a year but still it could save one life right and that’s all you need it for.”
The Starlight Campaign began in the summer of 2008 as a fundraising initiative created by EKFH in order to support the East Kootenay Regional Hospital’s major expansion project. Since then they have raised over $800,000. Every time they raise $5000 they light up another star along the outside of the East Kootenay Regional Hospital.