Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran speaks at launch for $8 million Better Together fundraising campaign to build JoeAnna’s house. Photo Credit: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Column: JoeAnna’s House a worthy cause

Fundraising underway to construct facility where families can stay during crisis

News that the Kelowna Hospital Foundation is initiating a campaign to help construct the 20-room JoeAnna’s House, where families can stay together during a health-care crisis, is welcome indeed.

In all the shuffle of news last week and because it happened in Kelowna, this story may have escaped your notice. (Check out our story on page A17.) But it is incredibly important to people in this region.

One-in-four patients admitted to hospital in Kelowna are from outside that city — many of them from the Shuswap. And being in hospital so far from homes comes with a host of challenges, not only for the patient, but for their family.

It takes me back to my own situation just after the birth of my twins in the Kamloops hospital.

They were premature and needed to remain in their incubators in the neo-natal intensive care (NICU) nursery.

I, however, had no unusual physical aliments after their birth and, with hospital beds at a premium, I was kindly informed by the doctor that it was time for me to vacate the hospital.

I think the look of disbelief said it all.

“But where am I going to go?” I asked, as I teared up. “You just told me I have to be here every three hours around the clock to nurse my babies.”

A social worker was dispatched. She held my hand and kindly asked, “Do you have any friends in town you could stay with?”

No. Didn’t know anyone.

Another option suggested was for me to leave the babies in the nursery and commute from Salmon Arm whenever I could.

Ask any new mother if that is a good option when her fragile babies are in intensive care. It’s not.

The long stay in a Kamloops hotel ran up a credit-card bill into the thousands of dollars.

This is something that would be avoided had an option like JoeAnna’s House been available.

Health-care workers have all witnessed the stories of accommodation challenges people face.

“That is contrary to good health care. People recover better when they are together with family or loved ones and able to support each other,” Doug Rankmore, chief executive officer of the KGH Foundation said at the announcement of a fundraising campaign for this project. Rankmore is absolutely right.

I’m happy to point out the Huber family, who own the Prestige Hotel chain are getting behind this initiative. They have committed $1 million to the campaign and will be organizing fundraising initiatives in their hotels, including at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort in Salmon Arm.

While many people like to support local charities, it should be pointed out that, although the home will be built in Kelowna, this is a local cause. It will support people from the Shuswap who are going through some of the most difficult times they will ever face.

I hope this is a project our community can get behind.

Just Posted

New players take their first shift

Program provides gear and coaching for first-time hockey players.

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused Shuswap drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

Police issue warrant for Sicamous man

Sheldon Odd wanted for theft under $5,000

Trustee to consider opening outdoor school in September

Staff recommend South Canoe School re-open with a new district program

Holiday Train rolls through the Shuswap

Hundreds of people have gathered in Sicamous, Canoe and Salmon Arm for… Continue reading

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Meningococcal clinics open this Sunday

Interior Health is stepping up efforts to get young people vaccinated against Meningococcal.

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Column: Make it a green Christmas

Instead of purchasing a cuddly stuffie this year, put your money towards helping the real thing.

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Most Read