VERNON — The McMurtry-Baerg Cancer Centre at VJH has doubled in size thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation. The Foundation raised $500,000 to complete the expansion and renovations.
“The redevelopment of the cancer centre is important for the people of the North Okanagan, the Shuswap, Revelstoke, and surrounding communities who are living with cancer,” said Eric Foster, MLA Vernon-Monashee. “The expansion was made possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation and generous donations by local residents. The expanded centre will be a real improvement for patients and families facing a challenging time in their lives.”
With the improved space, which includes additional exam and consultation rooms, the McMurtry-Baerg Cancer Centre staff and physicians are able to care for patients with enhanced privacy. The extra space and privacy goes a long way to improving the difficult journey that a cancer patient takes during the course of treatments.
“The mission of the VJH Foundation is to support excellence in health care in the North Okanagan,” said Greg Mussenden, President of the VJH Foundation Board of Directors, during an event held today to recognize the many donors and supporters who made the expansion possible. “When the Foundation realized that there was vacated space available for the Cancer Centre expansion, but funds for the necessary renovations were not available, we were pleased to spring into action to fulfill that need.”
In addition to many generous individual and community donors, a number of events were held to help raise funds, including the 2012 Charity Classic which raised more than $126,000; the JCI Vernon Hospital 2012 Gala which raised $22,266; local Subway restaurants raised $9,000 from cookie sales, and City of Vernon employees donated $2,500 through the casual Friday program.
“The Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation is an important partner to Interior Health,” said Norman Embree, Chairman of the Interior Health Board of Directors. “On behalf of Interior Health I would like to thank the Foundation and their many supporters for their hard work in making the cancer centre expansion a reality.”
The McMurtry-Baerg Cancer Centre opened at VJH in 1998. At the time, about 1,600 patients visited the centre every year. Today, the centre sees more than 3,500 patients a year who make approximately 10,000 annual visits.
“All of us who work in the centre are thankful to the Foundation and its supporters who recognized the need to expand and renovate the centre in order to provide a better care experience to our patients and their families,” said Dr. Ed Hardy, medical oncologist at Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s McMurtry-Baerg Cancer Centre.