East Kootenays will soon have very own mammography unit

The EKFH has reached its goal to raise $1 million for a new digital stereotactic mammography unit.

Lake Windermere District Lions Club

The East Kootenay Foundation for Health has reached its “Clear View” goal, which was to raise $1 million to purchase a new digital stereotactic mammography unit for the East Kootenay Regional Hospital.

It was the foundation’s largest public fund raising campaign to date.

At the moment, people from the East Kootenays, including Golden, have to travel to either Calgary or Kelowna for a mammogram, or wait for the mobile mammography van from the BC Cancer Agency that comes to Golden twice a year.

The goal was to raise the $1 million in two years but thanks to some outstanding leadership gifts prior to the public launch (October 2011), many public donations and fundraising events throughout the past year and a final gift of $100,000 from the Lake Windermere District Lions Club; history has been made one year ahead of schedule and the campaign has met its goal.

“It is with great pleasure that East Kootenay Foundation for Health can announce that thanks to a gift of $100,000 from the Lake Windermere District Lions Club and the outpouring of support and financial donations from people, organizations, businesses, corporations and service clubs from throughout the East Kootenay; the A Clear View campaign has officially met its goal,” said EKFH Past-Chair Linda Berukoff.

“To say it was an ambitious campaign was definitely an understatement. It was the largest fund raising venture our organization had ever attempted but the need was great. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women and early detection and treatment is the key to survival.”

To commemorate the magnitude of the fundraising effort, and the final gift that tipped the scale, the Lake Windermere District Lions Club hosted a dinner, inviting representatives from some of the key pre-campaign leadership organizations, including EKFH Executive Director Donna Grainger.

“I was really overcome by emotion when the reality hit that we all made something beautiful happen.  For me the campaign was not just about the financial outcome but about the wonderful array of moments that remind you how precious life is.  A Clear View has impacted my life so wonderfully,” said Grainger.

Grainger also wanted thank and acknowledge the generous support from the Golden area; $500 from the Mountain Magic Quilters Guild, $1,137 from Giant Steps Preschool, as well as all the personal donations.

“The fact that this got done ahead of schedule has been phenomenal, and it just goes to show the generosity of the people from all these communities,” said Erica Phillips, health services administrator for Golden and Invermere, adding that the importance of mammograms in early detection cannot be overstated.

“The earlier you can detect and start treatment, the greater the likelihood of a successful outcome. They say a mammogram will identify a tumour five times sooner than just doing a self-check would.”

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that women start getting regular mammograms at the age of 40, but if you have to travel on the Trans Canada Highway for three to four hour, it makes it difficult for a lot of women.

“The big thing we’re trying to work on with the health authority, is try to keep people as close to home as possible, and keep people off the roads,” said Phillips.

Once the new digital stereotactic mammography unit is in the East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook, it will be a much easier drive, especially with the Health Connections Bus running from Golden to Cranbrook a couple times a week.