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$2M donation brings campaign for County’s new hospital to $14.7M

At the announcement of the Huff family donation, from left, Dennis Darby, Back the Build campaign co-chair; Barbara McConnell, PECMHF board chair; Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation; Catharine and Lanny Huff and Nancy Parks, Back the Build campaign co-chair.

Announcing a $2M gift to help Back the Build of Prince Edward County’s new hospital, long-time supporters Lanny and Catharine Huff saw the new fundraising thermometer rise to a milestone $14.7 million in cash and commitments.

“This year has made us all very much aware of how important it is to have a good community hospital and wonderful caregivers and essential workers,” said Catherine Huff, Thursday morning, addressing a gathering of hospital staff, volunteers, donors and the hospital foundation’s campaign cabinet members.

QHC PECMH medical staff, foundation volunteers; Back the Build Campaign Cabinet volunteers and donors gather in front of the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital for the campaign announcement.

The COVID-19 pandemic, she said, “really brought to light how important it is”, noting both her and Lanny’s families have members who were born, treated and have passed, at the former, and current hospital.

Catharine Huff, with husband Lanny by her side, speaks to the importance of having a good hospital in the community.

“We’ve had surgeries, we’ve had stitches, we’ve had palliative care – we’ve had it all in this hospital,” she said, adding they’re also very aware of how important having a hospital is to others.

“We live on the West Lake road and we hear ambulances going by from the Sandbanks and it’s a relief to know they don’t have very far to go to get to a good hospital. A hospital in the County is so important and this is a very good one.”

The Huff family’s transformational gift is the largest the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital has received from individual donors to date. In recognition, the lobby/atrium inside the main entrance will be named in honour of the prominent County family.

“It is with great respect and gratitude that I say, on behalf of the PECMH Foundation, as well as County residents and visitors alike who will benefit every time they step across the threshold of our new hospital…thank you,” said Shannon Coull, the foundation’s executive director. “Lanny and Catharine’s steadfast support helps get the Hospital Foundation one step closer to realizing this vision for the future. We cannot thank them enough for their tremendous leadership in helping us Back the Build for a new hospital.”

The foundation reporting a total of $14.7 raised in commitments to date – or 89 per cent of its $16.5M goal – is now reflected on a new fundraising thermometre placed on the outside front wall of the hospital.

The thermometer was funded through a grant from the Jack and Ruby Lockyer Ward Fund, administered by the County Foundation.

The $16.5M fundraising goal is the community’s local share of the new hospital project, set out by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. This funding requirement includes a portion of the construction costs for the new hospital as well as 100 per cent of the equipment. The new hospital is on track to open in 2025 with shovels going into the ground in 2022.

The foundation’s Back the Build campaign is the largest fundraising effort undertaken by the organization in its 35-year history.

Barbara McConnell, chairperson of the PECMH Foundation Board, also gave thanks to the Huff family.

“We have a special place in our hearts for Catharine and Lanny. In addition to celebrating this incredible fundraising milestone, we are also reminded and grateful for past occasions when they have so generously donated to our annual fundraising endeavours to raise money to purchase the critical medical equipment needed for our hospital.”

“While the heart and soul of the current County hospital is thriving, the physical structure is nearing the end of its ability to meet today’s standards of medical care,” said Coull, who stressed that while they celebrate very large donations, the foundation is also grateful to each and every donor who has helped to reach this milestone – no matter what the amount of their donation.

Raising the community share of $16.5M is an ambitious goal, she noted, but one that will be achieved with the help of the entire community. Since the early days of fundraising in 2014, more than 1,360 donors have contributed or pledged to help the foundation.

“The campaign never ceases to amaze,” said Nancy Parks, co-chair of the The Back the Build Campaign Cabinet whose members were announced earlier this week.

“The opportunity to co-chair the Back the Build campaign is a great honour. I am reminded of the crucial role our hospital has to meet the needs of the patients who pay over 40,000 visits to our hospital each year,” said Nancy Parks, co-chair of the Back the Build campaign cabinet. “The way the hospital staff, campaign cabinet volunteers and community continue to step up to support this campaign never ceases to amaze me. Those who have donated to help Back the Build are touching everyone in this community – from children to the elderly.”

Parks co-chairs the campaign cabinet along with Foundation Board Director, Dennis Darby.

“This is a hospital that serves everyone, no matter where you are from; it is the one thing we all have in common. The impact of this project will be felt for generations and I am so proud to be a part of it,” said Darby.

Those who would like to support the Back The Build campaign are invited to shop at the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Second Time Around Gift Shop downtown Picton, or participate in the auxiliary’s current Festival of Trees online auction.

Those who wish to make a donation, or are looking for further information, can visit the www.backthebuild.ca website or call 613-476-1008, ext. 4502.

Cheques can also be mailed to PECMH Foundation, 403 Main Street, Picton, ON K0K 2T0.

 

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  1. Bruce Nicholson says:

    Lanny and Catharine Huff are County treasures. Their Foundation has helped so many worthy organizations over the years. We are very grateful for their generosity.

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