$60K donation supports Okanagan College Health Sciences Centre

Family's heart-felt donation

A Kelowna family has gifted $60,000 to the 'Our Students, Your Health' campaign to support the completion of the Health Sciences Centre at Kelowna's Okanagan College campus.

Jack Kofoed and his children, Jacqueline, Leah, Jillian and Jeremy, are giving to the campaign to honour a special nurse in their life and the generation of new nurses to come.

Jack's wife Leona was a nurse who died in 2017, and the donation not only recognizes Leona's work, but also the care she received in her final days, according to the family.

“Mom was one of the most generous people I’ve ever known. She would be so happy with this gift. She loved knowing people are going into health-care careers, so this gift recognizes her passion,” says Jacqueline. She and her brother Jeremy had attended Okanagan College, which now holds a special place in their family's hearts.

“In mom’s last years, we had a wonderful home-care nurse who came to our home,” adds Leah. “Her name was Cindy, and she was a light in mom’s life. We’ve benefited hugely from having someone care for our mother, and we’re so thankful for home-care nurses.”

The gift will support the Home Care Lab at the Health Sciences Centre, which will provide a new space that provides nursing, therapist assistant and health-care assistant students a place to practise supporting clients in a real home environment.

Jack, the former owner of Kelowna Toyota, says he's always felt the responsibilities of giving back. When the college was developing its new trades complex, he donated then too.

“Nurses play an integral role in our communities. We want the best support and the best education possible for nurses,” he says. 

There is a growing demand for health-care workers in the region.

“In the Okanagan, we have many retired baby boomers, so there is a huge need for health-care workers,” says Jillian. “We need to educate more caregivers to meet the demand.”

The $18.9-million centre will provide training to frontline health-care workers in eight disciplines, providing state of the art lab spaces.

The Okanagan College Foundation needs community support to open the centre this coming fall. Half of the $5 million community fundraising goal has been raised.

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