INVERNESS: Fresh from its first major fundraising event, a community group hoping to install a family room at a local hospital’s palliative care unit is already eyeing dates for a similar initiative this coming fall or next spring.

Having received approval to install the new room at the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital (ICMH) from the provincial Department of Health and Wellness (DHW), organizers staged The Hospital FUN-D Fair at the Inverness Raceway Sunday afternoon.

Featuring live music, a farmers’ market, live auction items and a selection of paintings available for on-line bidding, the four-hour outdoor extravaganza is just the first step in a concerted fundraising campaign for the new palliative care family room, according to spokesperson Brenda Rankin MacDonald.

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“We have definitely had our asks out for other donors, and for major donors as well,” MacDonald told The Reporter.

“The response has been tremendous when we’ve been looking for donations and asking for auction items.”

With tenders now out for the new facility, MacDonald is hoping local residents will see the value of donating to the family room project, which is currently slated to contain a kitchenette, chairs, a large TV set, Internet access, full bath and shower facilities, and a quiet atmosphere that is not always available for families visiting their loved ones at the ICMH palliative care unit.

“A lot of the families are just waiting around in the hallway,” MacDonald pointed out.

“We have the actual palliative care room for the patient, and the families of course visit with the patient and stay there as well. But we don’t actually have a room where they can go into a bit of a quiet space, a safe haven where they can just take a little bit of a break and refresh themselves. And it’s very close by, and that’s very important.”

She noted that the planned family room is also designed to cut down on travel for families affected by the palliative care process, and also noted that the facility will relieve the strain on large families that often gather together when a loved one is receiving palliative care.

“There’s only so many that can fit in a room, so hopefully this will be a nice private area,” said MacDonald. “If they just wanted to get away from the clinical thing and the medical life upstairs, they can just do that and be with themselves.”

To that end, MacDonald and her fellow organizers are pleased to see a positive early response for the ICMH palliative care family room fundraising campaign.

“Everybody is very, very happy… It’s something that is so needed,” MacDonald declared.

“We have talked to so many families already who have already gone through the whole process, and they’ve said, ‘Oh my, that would have been so great at the time.’ But they’re so happy for others in the future.”

For more information on the campaign, contact Brenda Rankin MacDonald at (902) 258-2236 or Colonel MacLellan at (902) 248-2457.

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Adam Cooke has been a staff writer and columnist for The Reporter since 1999. A native of L’Ardoise, Adam lives in Port Hawkesbury with his wife Cathy.