It has now been over a year since we launched our $16-million Gratitude Campaign at the 2016 Spring Fling Gala and despite the wildfire and economic downturn, the compassionate and resilient people, businesses and corporations in our region have continued to step up and make health care a priority.

As of March 31, 2017, we are excited to share that 4 out of 8 campaign projects are now fully funded including the Multi-Purpose Clinic, Community Clinic upgrades in Anzac and Conklin, Continuing Care renovations and the $1.5-million Palliative Care Suites Project. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our amazing Gratitude Campaign donors and Jeremy Snook Memorial Raffle ticket purchasers.

With these projects now funded, we are pleased to announce that the Northern Lights Health Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Alberta Health Services (AHS) approving the funding for the construction of three new Palliative Care Suites in the Northern Lights Health Centre. These large suites will provide space for patients and families, enabling their peace, dignity and comfort through the most difficult and painful times of their lives. Signing the MOU is a major campaign milestone as it demonstrates the community’s desire to make this project a priority, and acknowledges that the Foundation has the funds in place to complete the project thanks to you. The Palliative Care Suites project early planning and costing stage is underway.

The Health Foundation has also signed a MOU with AHS for the $7.6-million Minimally Invasive Surgical (MIS) Suites, a project that will see four operating suites updated with MIS technology. Today, we remain focused on reaching this fundraising goal as AHS starts the early planning stages. The Minimally Invasive Surgical technology will give surgeons the space and equipment necessary to perform procedures laparoscopically, leading to faster patient recovery, decreased hospital stays, and will provide the opportunity for more surgeries to be performed locally, right here at home. Laparoscopic surgery opens up a world of new surgeries that can be done here with visiting physicians and our local specialists. The innovative tools and technology and redesigned surgical spaces will expand our surgical options and be cleaner, faster and less invasive.

The Gratitude Campaign goal of $16-million is within our grasp and we are still looking to the community to bring us to campaign completion. Fundraising continues for the remaining projects within the Gratitude Campaign, a campaign that is going to fundamentally change the health care experience in our community for generations to come. It is through the generosity of this community that together we will continue enhancing health care for everyone living in the Wood Buffalo Region.