ANTIGONISH: The St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation (SMRHF) received a significant donation to their “The Time is Now” campaign in support of cardiorespiratory care at the hospital.
On September 10 in Antigonish, Frank Sobey, chair of the Sobey Foundation, announced a transformative $1 million donation to the SMRHF endowment campaign to establish new cardiorespiratory services.
In recognition of the donation, the cardio and respiratory services at the hospital will be named “Sobey Cardiorespiratory Services.”
“The Sobey Foundation’s goal is to improve the lives of individuals through health, education and communities. By partnering with St. Martha’s, we knew we could make that lasting impact,” Sobey said. “This investment will ensure that the foundation and the hospital have the capacity to continue to provide this essential support in the community where we live and work.”
The donation will improve the quality in acute and chronic care for heart and lung diseases and will specifically support additional education, services and equipment needed to transform the way cardiorespiratory services are delivered in the region.
“The creation of the ‘Sobey Cardiorespiratory Services’ will be the greatest gift to any individual or family living with cardio and respiratory illness,” said Joe MacDonald, past chair of the SMRHF. “A lot of patients are referred to St. Martha’s with chronic illnesses such as COPD, asthma, and heart disease that require treatment and education here at home. The Sobey Foundation gift will enable the hospital to extend these services.”
The Sobey Foundation’s donation is part of a major fundraising drive, which started only two-years-ago, with the goal of achieving an endowment of $20 million by 2026, to sustain and grow the services offered at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital.
Steve Smith, chair of the SMRHF endowment campaign said he’s been looking forward to this announcement for quite some time now, and the endowment’s total has reached $16.1 million.
“It’s a big game changer, we’re now over 80 per cent of our goal,” he said. “Today the Sobey family is giving us the greatest gift – the gift of better health care.”
Along with the consistant fundraising, Smith expressed that during this time the endowment campaign have continued to support the purchases of new equipment.
“Along with the hospital auxiliary [we] have fully funded the palitive care unit.”
Total payouts from the foundation to St. Martha’s has been $1,318,524 since the campaign began in 2016. Health care is increasing in cost and with our demographic aging, there’s more people needing it, Smith said.
“I’m a perfect example of that. As you get older, you start to go to the hospital more for different reasons,” he said. “You can see it every day when you visit St. Martha’s, how busy we are, the need for new equipment and new doctors is so important.”
In speaking about the donation, Sobey noted St. Martha’s is an outstanding hospital and a true gift to our region and province.
“This is an exceptionally well run hospital, I would say that’s principally a reason,” he said. “Also we have a lot of employees that avail themselves to the services here and it’s close to our home base.”
The Sobey Foundation, which started in the early 1980s, has three pillars – health care, education, and community.
“Cardiorespiratory care is a fundamental centerpiece of healthcare delivery and behalf of the Sobey Foundation I’d like to thank the team here at St. Martha’s for its commitment to quality health care and to wish them continued success in this field,” he said. “The establishment of this cardiorespiratory care unit under the leadership of Dr. Hendricks will continue to benefit its citizens for generations.”
Amy Hendricks, an internal medicine doctor with St. Martha’s said this contribution is as significant as it gets.
“Knowing there will be substantial funding coming into cardiorespiratory care for the indefinite future allows us to make some of those other kinds of investments that may not be as obvious to the public eye,” she said. “It may not be a piece of diagnostic equipment – it may be upgrading the level of staff training to permit better care in patients.”
The Sobey contribution is an inspiring act that will support a healthy community and change countless lives, Smith said.
“The Sobeys epitomize the very best of philanthropic, community and business leadership in the country. We are fortunate to have them as proud members of [our] community,” he said. “I just ask everybody to continue to open their hearts and if you haven’t made your pledge yet, to consider making it and help us ensure the future of health care right here.”