By Vivian Moreau
With funding for Whistler’s CT scanner still short $100,000-plus, local firefighters, paramedics, doctors and police are banding together to raise funds the old-fashioned way to purchase the equipment for the Whistler Health Care Centre.
Organized by local firefighter Brian Buchholz, a high-pressure car wash will set up at Whistler’s Fire Hall No. 1 on Sunday to raise money for the scanner.
“I know how hard they (Whistler Health Care Foundation) are trying to wrap up that fundraising… and it was something we thought we’d give a shot,” Buchholz said, “because the police, fire and ambulance deal with people who use that service and our families do as well.”
It’s the first time that health and emergency sectors have banded together to raise funds, and Buchholz, who has been with Whistler’s fire department 15 years, said the event will also be unique because fire hoses will be used for washing cars.
“We’ll probably also use one of the trucks that has an aerial shower so cars will move through to get their rinse and then we’ll wash and hose them off,” he said. “We have an unfair advantage (over conventional car washes) that we’re going to take advantage of.”
Buchholz, who personally has had a CT scan in the past, has set aside $1,000 from family funds to match monies donated through the car wash.
Whistler Health Care Foundation chair Marnie Simon said the fundraising committee is accepting donations from individuals toward the purchase of the $1.27 million scanner but doesn’t have any further fundraising events planned in the near future. Simon had hoped that funds would be in place by April 1 so construction could be undertaken and finished in time for next year’s World Cup events. Though that date has passed, Simon is hopeful the scanner will be up and running on time and is thrilled that local health and emergency professionals are raising funds to cover the $110,000 shortfall.
“It certainly shows some community support for what we’re doing here and we really appreciate it,” Simon said.
The foundation launched a fundraising campaign last fall to raise money for the computerized axial tomography scanner for the Whistler Health Care Centre that will provide service for patients from Pemberton to Squamish. A $275,000 donation from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation kicked off the drive last fall. Sea to Sky Regional Hospital District has committed to funding 40 per cent of the scanner’s purchase cost. The three health care foundations of Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton have injected over $400,000 for the much-needed scanner, that will enable physicians to arrive at definitive diagnoses for many of the 23,000 patients that pass through the health care centre’s doors each year.
By donation, the car wash runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 15, at Whistler Fire Hall No. 1 on Village Gate Boulevard.