Generous donation tops up care campaign

Craig Mearns’ donation gets Victoria Hospital Foundation effort to $25 million-plus

Craig Mearns said that no matter where you are in Greater Victoria, you will end up at one of the major hospitals should you get really sick.

That’s one of the reasons he has donated $256,000 to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Building Care Together campaign — helping top it up to $25 million raised since it started in 2011.

Mearns, a retired businessman from North Saanich and a municipal councillor, has served as a member of the Eldercare board of directors and on the cabinet of the Victoria Hospital Foundation’s last capital campaign. He has donated a total of $330,000 to the campaign and since 1989, has given $480,000 to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.

“I know their needs,” he said, “and the quality of the work they do. It’s all about patient care.”

Money raised for the campaign will be used, stated a  Foundation media release, for the purchase of leading-edge equipment for the Royal Jubilee Hospital Patient Care Centre, including Smart Beds, vital signs monitors, telemetry systems, medication safety cabinets and more.

“The Jubilee is one of the hospitals where we end up if we get really sick,” Mearns said, noting he also contributes to local facilities like the Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

Donations to the campaign, said Alan Lowe, Foundation board chair, have been matched by the Jim Pattison Community Matching Gift Challenge. That, Lowe said,  was a contribution of $5 million.

In all, some 3,200 people made donations, big and small, to the Foundation’s three-year capital campaign — and more money is still coming in.

“This was the largest campaign on the Island,” Lowe continued. “It feels like we have just won the gold medal here in Victoria.”

He said over the three-year effort, the Foundation has purchased all of the equipment they have needed to make the Jubilee Hospital’s Patient Care Centre top-of-the-line. Mearns’ donation and the matching funds allows the Foundation to cover the cost — and then some.

Campaign co-chair, Leslee Farrell expressed sincere gratitude to Mearns for stepping forward to make the gift.

“We are so very thankful for the incredible generosity of all the donors who have given to the Patient Care Centre since our campaign began in January of 2011, and we are deeply grateful to Craig Mearns for stepping forward to take us to our goal,” stated Farrell in a media release.

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