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Tree of Hope surpasses its goal

Never in her wildest dreams did Barrhead Healthcare Centre site director Heather Thompson think she’d see more than $43,000 raised in less than two months. That’s exactly what happened with this year’s Tree of Hope fundraising campaign.

Never in her wildest dreams did Barrhead Healthcare Centre site director Heather Thompson think she’d see more than $43,000 raised in less than two months.

That’s exactly what happened with this year’s Tree of Hope fundraising campaign. Thompson said this year’s goal was set at $43,500, and it was the largest undertaking for the hospital to date.

The Tree of Hope was put up in November, and to date the campaign has surpassed its goal with a total of $43,731.50. The money has been earmarked for a new high-resolution portable Ultrasound machine.

“We are very pleased,” Thompson said. “The community support is overwhelming. We’re all so excited, and it’s so humbling to know the community supports us so strongly and understands our need for more modern equipment.”

When one hears the word “ultrasound,” the first thing that comes to mind is a photo or video of an unborn baby, Thompson stated in her letter seeking support from the community at the beginning of the Tree of Hope campaign. There are a number of ways, however, to use ultrasound machine technology that does not involve pregnant mothers.

The reason ultrasound has become so widely used throughout the medical profession is that it is a non-invasive way to make a diagnosis. Ultrasound should be available 24 hours per day for rural Emergency Room patients, Thompson said. At the Barrhead Healthcare Centre, the portable ultrasound will be used to treat and diagnose patients with cardiac conditions, abdominal aortic aneurysm, appendicitis, abdominal trauma and eptopic pregnancy to name a few applications. The portable ultrasound will assist physicians with a much faster diagnosis of each patient’s condition. Input from staff is collected to determine what type of equipment will be purchased through the campaign.

“This machine will be used to help physicians treat trauma patients and diagnose fluid in the abdominal cavity, and to diagnose eptopic pregnancies,” Thompson said. “It won’t be used to gauge how far along a pregnancy is. This is the standard of care in emergency rooms, and we felt that we needed one here in Barrhead.”

Physicians will require some special training in the use of the new ultrasound machine, and they are all ready to take on that task, Thompson said. Modern equipment like the new ultrasound machine will also help recruit and retain physicians to the community of Barrhead, she added. The new equipment has been ordered, and it should be in Barrhead within six to eight weeks.

The first Tree of Hope campaign was held in 2005.

Since its inception, the campaign has raised approximately $122,000 for the hospital, and has been used to purchase telemetry equipment for remote monitoring, a fetal heart monitor, a tourniquet system for the operating room, a bladder scanner to view urine in the bladder without having to do a catheterization, and a cardiac monitor and defibrillator for the ER. The hospital usually sets a fundraising goal of about $20,000 per campaign; however, the ultrasound equipment came with a much higher pricetag.

In fact, Thompson expected it would take two years to raise the amount of money needed for the ultrasound equipment. She had anticipated that, due to the large size of the project, the balance of the fundraising may have needed to be made up from the Barrhead Healthcare Centre’s general donation account.

The community was able to support the campaign through a $10 donation, which would buy a light bulb. As bulbs were purchased, strings of lights were added to the Tree of Hope, located on the west side of the hospital. Donations of $250 bought an ornament, while three categories of stars were available for purchase including gold stars for $2,500, silver stars for $1,000, and bronze stars for $500.

In total, the campaign sold four gold stars, 11 silver and 10 bronze stars. Furthermore, 13 ornaments were sold, and hundreds of light bulbs were sold to light up the tree. Thompson said she was surprised at how fast the tree lit up once the campaign kicked off.

“Even small donations make a difference,” she said.





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