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Hospital Auxiliary turns 100; Jubilee House gets $300,000

Northern Health board chair Colleen Nyce (right) presents a plaque to Lindy Steele, President of the Auxiliary to UHNBC, recognizing the 100th anniversary of the local auxiliary group. Bill Phillips photo
Northern Health board chair Colleen Nyce (right) presents a plaque to Lindy Steele, President of the Auxiliary to UHNBC, recognizing the 100th anniversary of the local auxiliary group. Bill Phillips photo

Yesterday the Auxiliary to University Hospital of Northern BC celebrated its 100th anniversary in style.

Not only was a commemorative plaque unveiled behind the information desk at UHNBC, but they have also pledged $100,000 towards patient comfort renovations at Jubilee Lodge.  Because they work collaboratively with Northern Health and primarily fund equipment in partnership with the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, this amount was leveraged by each to bring the total of $300,000 that will see significant changes in safety and especially patient comfort. 

Over the the years in excess of $5.6 million dollars has been provided by the Auxiliary.

“This is because the community supports their thrift shop and gift shop, and it is greatly appreciated” said Lindy Steele, President of the Auxiliary to UHNBC.  “Our services include the information desk, cuddling babies, quilters and knitters for the gift shop, those who volunteer in emergency, Jubilee Lodge, and even menu planners – the list is extensive and accounts for well over 1Million documented hours.”

“Today’s announcement really was about being “100 years strong” – their mantra as they move forward.  Their real motto is “when caring hearts meet willing hands… volunteers are created” and we couldn’t agree with them more.” said Judy Neiser, CEO for Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation.  “We truly respect their immense efforts and feel that thank you hardly says how grateful we are for the work they do for patient care in the hospital.  It is nice to recognize their hard work by matching their pledge along with Northern Health’s that will see a long overdue renovation to Jubilee Lodge, where complex care patients really will spend the remainder of their lives.   It’s nice to make a difference and honour and respect citizens of the community who reside in Jubilee.”

While it is yet to be determined where the full $300,000 will go, new beds are of primary concern for safety as well as patient comfort.  There are additional patient care amenities and safety concerns to revamp along with adding more comfort and warmth to their surroundings.

Hospital care extends back to 1914 with the building of the Grand Trunk Railway Hospital. The ladies auxiliary was subsequently created in 1919.

“Your achievements are staggering,” Selen Alpay, Board President, Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, said to a group of about 20 hospital auxiliary members Wednesday. “This brilliant organization, over the past 100 years, has raised $5,642,783.72.”

He added that all of that money was raised by volunteers and while volunteer hours haven’t been kept for 100 years, for the years they have been tallied it counts to more than one million volunteer hours.

Mayor Lyn Hall was also on hand to offer congratulations, adding that his mother and sister were involved in the hospital auxiliary in Dawson Creek when he was a boy and he was often pressed into action to help fill the “goodie cart.”

“Happy birthday,” he said. “One hundred years is significant … What’s so important to us as patients or visitors to the hospitals is that when you come in here you see the welcoming, comforting hand of the auxiliary and that’s so important to everyone.”

For 100 years the Auxiliary to UHNBC (previously Prince George Regional Hospital Auxiliary and may names before that) have been providing volunteers for a variety of services and funding for many of the much needed equipment.  It all started with a gift of money towards making linens followed by $500 for an X-ray machine.

Their contributions to patient care in the hospital has been incredible.  With most of their funding coming from the Hospital Gift Shop and the Thrift Shop on Third Avenue.