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Community takes action: KGH stroke campaign raises $8 million

Stroke fundraiser a success

When it comes to stroke, every moment matters. And in those crucial moments Kelowna General Hospital will be more ready than ever.

Now, thanks to a stunningly successful fundraising campaign spearheaded by the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation, the level of stroke care available for Interior patients is about to become world-class.

Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of local donors, the $8 million raised by the foundation’s Every Moment Matters campaign will provide significant advancements, such as a state-of-the-art intervention room for stroke treatment at the hospital, advanced rehabilitation and service and funding for future innovations related to stroke care.

“Once again the community has responded swiftly and with incredible generosity,” said Doug Rankmore, CEO of the KGH Foundation.

“Stroke is a devastating condition, not just for the patients but for their whole family as well,” added Rankmore.

Last year in the Interior Health region, there were more than 1,800 reported cases of stroke.

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in adults and the third leading cause of death B.C.

Rankmore called the stroke care program at KGH world-class, adding Interior Health is already receiving calls from health authorities elsewhere asking about it.

The appeal to the public was set to begin in March 2020 but community fundraising was delayed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. And in just five months since its official launch in March 2021, the campaign has reached its goal, thanks in part to a significant gift from Marshall Eliuk, an Alberta-based businessman who now enjoys living in the Okanagan part-time.

Eliuk is the same generous donor who, in 2019, provided a sizeable gift to complete the foundation’s campaign to bring advanced heart rhythm services to KGH.

The funds raised will support a comprehensive stroke care plan that includes $4.6 million for the acquisition of endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) at KGH, a service that has been previously only available in Vancouver and Calgary in Western Canada. EVT, now the new standard of care for ischemic stroke, is an advanced procedure in which neurologists pull a blood clot out of a stroke patient's artery to restore blood flow to the brain. A good outcome results in a near reversal of disability in a stroke patient.

The enhancement of the IH stroke program, with KGH as its hub, will also support the recruitment of specialists, provide for the expansion of the stroke unit, expand rehabilitation services and enable enhanced tele-neurology for access to specialist care, particularly for rural, remote and Indigenous communities across the region.

“The impact will be absolutely life-changing for our regional stroke patients,” said Dr. Aleksander Tkach, a vascular neurologist at KGH and medical director for the IH Stroke Network.

“I am so incredibly grateful to Mr. Eliuk and the people of this community for making this possible.”

In addition to individual donations and third-party fundraisers, corporations such as Canada Life, who recently donated $100K to the campaign, also stepped up with significant gifts.

Since 1978, the KGH Foundation has worked with a generous community to raise funds to support world-class health care close to home for a rapidly expanding and diverse population in the B.C. Interior

Today, the KGH Foundation is the lead fundraising organization for Kelowna General Hospital and its associated facilities, JoeAnna’s House, and Central Okanagan Hospice House.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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