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Good Neighbours: There's Room to Care at Mount St. Mary

Oct 21 2012
John Newman, left, takes a look at the holes and damage in Keith Turner's room at Mount St. Mary Hospital. The Room to Care project is aiming to repair damage and replace outdated equipment at the complex-care facility. 

John Newman, left, takes a look at the holes and damage in Keith Turner's room at Mount St. Mary Hospital. The Room to Care project is aiming to repair damage and replace outdated equipment at the complex-care facility.

Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Times Colonist , Times Colonist

A woman who saw the value of Mount St. Mary Hospital first-hand is behind a special contribution to the complex-care facility.

A gift of $150,000 has been made to the hospital's Room to Care project from the estate of Thora Duncan, whose mother spent the last years of her life at the original 1941-vintage Mount St. Mary complex.

"She always remembered the care that her mom received from the Sisters of St. Ann," said Mandy Parker, executive director of the Mount St. Mary Foundation.

Birch's gift was presented by John Newman, a family friend, in a brief ceremony at the new Mount St. Mary site, opened in 2004 at Fairfield and Quadra streets. He said Birch was an ardent supporter of Mount St. Mary and also gave many smaller gifts through the years.

Mount St. Mary is home to 200 residents, some of them elderly and others who have had strokes or are living with conditions like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

Room to Care is raising money for renovations, repairs and new furniture and equipment.

"What happened is our resident population is younger than originally anticipated, so people are using larger wheelchairs," said Parker. "Consequently, there's holes in the walls, and dings and scrapes and that kind of thing."

Rooms will be updated, with preventive measures like wall protectors, while worn items such as mattresses, commodes and patient-lift slings will be replaced.

Parker said the $900,000 Room to Care campaign is about halfway to its goal.

John Nash, the campaign's honorary chairman, said Mount St. Mary is remarkably home-like, but steps need to be taken to ensure that the level of patient comfort s maintained.

"This campaign is so important to the quality of their lives."

Hospital CEO Sara John Fowler said that the planned repairs and enhancements will contribute to the goal of making residents' lives full and meaningful. She pointed out that residents range from years old to 107 and have a wide variety of needs.

"We are committed to meeting the physical, spiritual, intellectual, social and emotional needs of those we serve, in partnership with their families, friends and other health-care providers," Fowler said.

"Mount St. Mary is a community of caring."

Resident Keith Turner said Mount St. Mary is a wonderful place to live. He said he especially likes the fact that it's centrally located, close to downtown and the Inner Harbour.

"I've been here eight years," he said. "It's just really great."

To contribute to Room to Care, go to msmfoundaton.ca, email mparker@msmfoundation.ca or call 250-480-3138.


An Oak Bay Soiree, planned for this weekend, has been postponed. The fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society will be rescheduled in the new year.

Anyone with tickets can either hold onto them or call Athlone Travel for a refund.


A Canadian charity that helps women and children in some of the poorest areas of the world will benefit from an Oct. 29 event at the Union Club.

Saffron & Singing Bowls II is being held in support of Child Haven International, which operates nine homes for more than 1,250 woman and children living in Tibet, Bangladesh, Nepal and India. Child Haven founders Fred and Bonnie Cappuccino, who have both received the Order of Canada and the United Nations Humanitarian Service Award, will be attending.

The event features a sit-down dinner with gourmet Indian food, entertainment from pianist Lorraine Min and violinist Terrence Tam, and a silent auction, all hosted by radio personality Vicki Gabereau.

Cost is $60, with tickets available at Munro's Books, Timeless Toys and Tanner's Books, or by calling 250384-6257.


Victoria-raised Colin Wiebe, a longtime musical colleague of Randy Bachman, is returning to his hometown for a Nov. 2 benefit concert at Gateway Baptist Church.

Wiebe is a regular supporter of charity events.

The upcoming concert will raise money for the Mary Magdalene Ministry, which helps sex-trade workers, and the church's Kids Helping Kids Christmas program.

Kids Helping Kids, directed by Donna Forster and based at Gateway, has raised more than $70,000 for youth in need over the past 13 years.

Also performing at the 7 p.m. concert are Bob and Arlene Overman, Wes Morrison and Gipp Forster.

Barry Bowman will be the MC.

Tickets are $20 and are available at the church (898 Royal Oak Ave.) or by calling 250-658-5121. Tickets will also be sold at the door.


Watoto Canada is making a difference in the lives of more than 2,500 orphans in the African nation of Uganda and aims to help many more in the years to come.

The local branch of the international organization is hosting a Nov. 10 fundraising event at the Victoria Conference Centre to ensure that it continues to fulfil its motto - Rescue, Raise, Rebuild - and to make more people aware of the need it serves.

"Watoto" is the Swahili word for "children," and one of the most important goals of Watoto Child Care Ministries is to give children the assistance and education they need to become Africa's next generation of leaders.

Headlining the Watoto fundraiser is Tenore, an acclaimed trio of tenors that includes Shane Wiebe, Jason Catron and Mark David Williams. Canadian recording artist Marika Siewert will be the MC.

Concert-goers can enjoy appetizers and bid on photographs taken by visitors to Uganda for Watoto's It Takes a Village contest.

Tickets are $25 and are available at watotocanada.com, by phone at 250-361-4554 or by visiting Watoto's Victoria office at 1950 Government St.


It's 15 years and counting for the Thrifty Foods Pumpkins for Charity program.

Since it began, Pumpkins for Charity has generated more than $340,000 for the purchase of medical equipment through the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. This year, money from the program will go to the foundation's fall campaign, which aims to raise $500,000 for nine medication-dispensing cabinets designed to reduce the possibility of error and improve the tracking of inventory.

For every pumpkin sold at Thrifty Foods until Oct. 31, $1 will be donated to the foundation.

Melanie McKenzie, the foundation's executive director, said the support from Thrifty Foods is greatly appreciated and has helped with many important equipment purchases.


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