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Fundraising goals met for CT Scanner

CN comes through with pledge for $100,000, WORCA fundraiser adds $5,500

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By Andrew Mitchell

A journey that began more than five years ago after the sudden death of a local skier at last reached its end in the parking lot of the Whistler Health Care Centre on Friday.

David McLean, chair of the CN Railway board, presented the Whistler Health Care Foundation with a cheque for $100,000, which will go towards the installation of a CT scanner in Whistler, the only one in the Sea to Sky area.

“I remember we were involved in the campaign to expand the health care centre a few years ago and build a helicopter pad here, which has been put to very good use over the years,” said McLean. “(CN) is very concerned with safety issues, it’s large on our agenda — the number one priority on our agenda these days. This is a good investment for us, not just for the safety of the community but for all our employees who live and work in Sea to Sky.”

McLean is no stranger to Whistler and its health care needs. He has been coming to the resort since 1968 and has owned a place here since the 1970s. His family is also invested in Blackcomb Helicopters.

CN gives out about $6 million annually in donations throughout North America, and through McLean helped to fund the Whistler Health Care Centre in the past during the capital campaign to expand the centre and build a helicopter pad.

The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority agreed to fund the ongoing operation of the scanner, but would not contribute the capital funds needed to buy the scanner or expand the health care centre.

That left the Whistler Health Care Foundation to raise nearly $1.3 million, and they came within a few hundred thousand by the April 1 deadline set by the health authority. At that point they asked for the deadline to be extended for last minute fundraising efforts, and CN’s donation last week helped them reach the goal.

Foundation chair Marnie Simon thanked CN and all the contributors in Sea to Sky that helped to raise the funding.

“It’s really been an amazing response from the community, and outside the community too with people like CN,” she said. “This is a piece of critical care equipment we have needed for many years, and having it here will help doctors to save lives in the corridor.”

Roughly 40 per cent of the scanner’s purchase cost, or $509,000, will be covered by Sea to Sky Regional Hospital District. Last fall the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation kicked off the fundraising drive with a donation of $275,000, followed by $50,000 from the Houssian Family Foundation, $40,000 in memory of Dave Mathews, $25,000 from Geordie Trusler, $12,080 from Dean Alexander, $20,000 from the Royal Bank, and $15,000 from the Downey family holding company. The Squamish and Pemberton health care foundations also contributed $30,000 and $28,000 respectively. When timing became a problem, Jim Duncan stepped in with a donation of $51,500 which allowed the project to move ahead before the foundation heard from CN.

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