So close 

Health care foundation still shy $200,000 for CT scanner

By Vivian Moreau

In order to be in operation for 2008 World Cup events the Whistler Health Care Foundation still needs to raise just under $200,000 in a matter of days for a CT scanner.

Funds for the scanner, and health care centre renovations to accommodate the scanner, were initially pegged at $2 million, but that figure was reduced to $1.27 million. Sea to Sky Regional Hospital District has committed to funding 40 per cent of the scanner’s purchase cost. A $275,000 donation from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation kicked off the fundraising drive last fall for the much-needed scanner that will enable physicians to arrive at definitive diagnoses for many of the 23,000 patients that pass each year through the centre’s doors.

“It’s basic equipment that we should have in our community right this minute, really,” said the foundation’s chair, Marnie Simon. “And particularly when there are going to be high-level sporting events and the number of people that come through our community.”

The foundation launched a fundraising campaign last fall to raise money for the computerized axial tomography scanner for the Whistler Health Care Centre that will provide service for patients from Pemberton to Squamish. But just days before an April 1 deadline that needs to be met so groundbreaking can begin, the effort is still short about $197,000. The fundraising campaign is an important milestone for the three health care centres of Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton who worked for years lobbying the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority on the necessity of a CT scanner for the Sea to Sky region. The health authority has agreed to provide operating funds for the scanner as of April, 2008 but will not contribute to capital funds that cover the scanner’s purchase and installation.

Three health care foundations of Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton have injected over $400,000 and donations have also been received from organizations like the Royal Bank and American Friends of Whistler. Simon said she is hoping the April 1 deadline can be adjusted by a few days in order to allow for last-minute fundraising efforts to be realized.

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