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Bottle depot, dance and syrup drive help Wellington Rotary buy hospital equipment

Pictured in front of the PECM Hospital in Picton from left, are: Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation; Ken Robertson, president of the Rotary Club of Wellington; Nancy Parks, Back the Build campaign chairperson; Barbara McConnell, chairperson of the PECMH Foundation and Phyo Kyi, chair of the Rotary Club of Wellington Foundation.

The Rotary Club of Wellington presented the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation with $30,500 to equip the hospital with an Automated Endoscope Reprocessor (AER) and members have already embarked on a new campaign for another vital piece of equipment.

Prince Edward County’s hospital is the low-risk endoscopy centre for Quinte Health. On average, more than 3,000 individuals travel to Picton from across southeastern Ontario each year for cancer screening and scope procedures.

The AER, which disinfects each gastroscope and colonoscope between patients, has been purchased and is now in use.

It is an upgraded version which allows for a quicker turnaround time, about 25 minutes quicker, and uses two independent bins so two scopes can be cleaned at the same time. It also uses an environmentally-friendly, high-level disinfectant to process the scopes.

“The previous AER’s were outdated and frequently out of service due to mechanical failures,” said Dustin MacDonald, interim manager of the Medical Device Reprocessing Department at Quinte Health.

The Rotary Club of Wellington raised the funds needed over a six-month period. A partnership with Nyman Farms to sell maple syrup this spring yielded $17,000 and donations collected from the club’s bottle recycling depot raised the balance.

“Wellington Rotary is indebted to many people, who have worked tirelessly to raise the funds for the AER. We are also grateful to Nyman Farms for bottling the maple syrup and to the outlets and Rotarians who sold that syrup,” said Ken Robertson, president of the Rotary Club of Wellington. “It was a labour of love to raise these funds, but our club agrees that our local hospital is the heart of our community, and Wellington Rotary is committed to keeping it vibrant and well equipped.”

Medical equipment is expensive and has a short lifespan. Unlike many operating costs, equipment is not funded by the government; it is expected the community finances the replacement of medical equipment and building redevelopment through the work of hospital foundations.

“We are grateful to the Wellington Rotarians and the donors in our community who supported Rotary’s fundraising initiatives,” said Barbara McConnell, chairperson of the PECMH Foundation. “We are inspired by the many generous donors who are committed to making local health care accessible and to providing the hospital with leading-edge equipment to serve its patients.”

“The foundation raises funds so our hospital can acquire the advanced technology, and even basic equipment, that is not covered by provincial health care funding. Having the right technology improves diagnosis and patient outcomes and, gives our professionals the tools they need to save lives,” said Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation. “Without community fundraising, our hospital would not have the financial means to purchase essential equipment.”

The Rotary Club of Wellington is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022. The energetic club of approximately 40 members has now shifted its focus to fundraising for a $30,000 Echocardiogram (ECG) machine needed at PECMH. The campaign for this piece of equipment got off to a strong start with $17,000 being raised from Rotary’s annual fundraising dinner and dance, “Happy Days Are Here Again” held Oct. 15.

Rotary also plans to use contributions from the bottle recycling depot and funds raised from the annual Diners and Duffers coupon books toward this initiative. The bottle depot is open on Wednesday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and is located at the old mill on Second Street in Wellington.

“Since we have achieved our fundraising target for the AER, Wellington Rotary has set its heart on funding the ECG machine,” said Phyo Kyi, chair of the Rotary Club of Wellington. “Having access to modern equipment, including this heart monitoring device, in our County hospital is important to many of us, which made the Club’s decision very easy to continue to support the foundation’s equipment fund.”


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