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Donation helps Wellington resident feel she’s making a difference at the County’s hospital

Shirley King, of Wellington, is a dialysis patient receiving treatment at the MacSteven Dialysis Clinic in Picton. She chooses to give back to the dialysis unit through a monthly donation to the PECM Hospital Foundation. Shirley is seen here with the portable blood pressure monitor her monthly gifts paid for. Briar Boyce photo

Monitoring blood pressure for patients using the MacSteven Dialysis Clinic has become more mobile thanks to the support of a patient who is a monthly supporter of the hospital.

A portable blood pressure monitor and cuff has been bought for the Dialysis Clinic, which operates out of Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital. The $860 medical device was paid for by Shirley King, of Wellington. She is a dialysis patient who signed up to be a monthly supporter of the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation.

The machine measures and displays the blood pressure readings and will be used for dialysis patients who need to have regular blood pressure checks as part of their treatment. It also serves as backup when the blood pressure monitor attached to each dialysis machine goes down. Because the machine is moveable, nurses are now able to monitor blood pressure from any area within the Dialysis Clinic, making their job much easier.

As a donor, Shirley has the choice to direct her monthly contribution to an area of care that is meaningful to her. She chose the Dialysis Clinic. Her gift each month grew until the Foundation was able to respond to a funding request for the blood pressure monitor put forth by the Kingston General Hospital Renal Program, which oversees the operation of the MacSteven Dialysis Clinic.

Despite the well earned praise, Shirley stays humble and has a simple reason for making her donation each month.

“I wanted to be able to give something back,” she said. “I never thought I could make a difference.”

The MacSteven Dialysis Clinic opened in Picton in 2002. Patients receive treatment three times a week, for three to five hours. Missing a treatment is not an option and services here mean patients in Prince Edward County don’t have to drive to Belleville or Kingston.

There are currently 18 patients served at the Picton Dialysis Clinic’s 11 stations. The clinic operates two shifts of patients Mon-Wed-Fri from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The government does not provide funding for the purchase of medical equipment and it is only through donors’ generosity that the Foundation is able to fund state-of-the-art medical equipment for the County’s hospital.

The monthly giving program asks individuals who wish to support the PECMHF to pledge an ongoing donation through a pre-authorized debit or credit card payment plan. Donors who choose to give monthly don’t have to worry about writing cheques or remembering to make a donation while traveling. Recurring donations save the Foundation administration costs as the receipt for the cumulative contribution is processed once annually. Currently, 46 people choose to give to the Foundation through this giving platform and $2,306.50 is earned each month, which grows to more than $27,000 annually.

“I know it is difficult to respond to every request for help. As a senior citizen on a small pension, and a volunteer on the Foundation board of directors, I decided to become a monthly contributor,” said Lillian Duffy, director on the Foundation board. “My financial assistance is very modest but painless. In fact, I recently doubled the amount [still modest]. Every time I walk through the hospital doors I know that in a small way, I am supporting the one place that everyone in our community heads to in a time of need.”

Monica Alyea, Foundation board chairperson, has chosen to designate her monthly gifts to support the proposed redevelopment of the PECM Hospital as a way to show her ongoing commitment to the future of health care in Prince Edward County. All Foundation staff members have followed Alyea’s lead and also contribute each month to the new hospital campaign.

For more information, or to enroll in the Foundation’s monthly giving program, call Briar Boyce, the Foundation’s communications and donations co-ordinator, at 613-476-1008 ext. 4425 or email briar@pecmhf.ca

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