Hilltop Greenhouses in West Saanich grows 100,000 poinsettias each holiday season, the only producer on the South Island. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Hilltop Greenhouses in West Saanich grows 100,000 poinsettias each holiday season, the only producer on the South Island. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Poinsettia sales to support kid-friendly lab at Victoria hospital

Auxiliary looks to de-stress lab tests for children

Poinsettia season is here even if the winter holidays are not.

The annual Poinsettias For Patients fundraiser sale by the Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary charity are now available with an ordering deadline of Nov. 16.

The Auxiliary’s focus changes throughout the years with many legacies at the hospital. This year’s money is going towards a virtual reality machine for children visiting the ambulatory lab. It will help make lab tests less stressful for children, said past-president and long time Auxiliary leader Val Smith.

Children are a major part of the clientele at Victoria General Hospital’s ambulatory lab and it is a stressful place for kids who are often there for bloodwork and other uncomfortable procedures.

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“The lab has had little work done to improve it and is four decades old, as old as the hospital,” Smith said. “It’s very crowded and noisy, it’s awkward and not set up well for the number of patients [and their families].”

The virtual reality machine is a short-term solution to help comfort visiting children. A mural is also being designed by local artist Marcela Strasdas that will go in soon.

Long term, the solution is to renovate the lab though it will take a few years.

“We decided we could start by making it more comfortable and calm for kids, to make them feel relaxed, detached, and calmer for tests,” Smith said.

The Auxiliary volunteer group runs the gift shop in Victoria General Hospital. It’s the charity’s primary annual fundraiser. In normal years, the charity raises about $200,000, though numbers are down significantly, Smith noted, due to the coronavirus.

The flowers are locally grown by Hilltop Greenhouses in Saanich.

“We are very grateful to our annual buyers that come back, such as Cascadia Liquor store, that fills their stores to decorate for the holidays,” Smith said.

Plants can be purchased online at shop.vgha.ca, at the hospital gift shop, by emailing info@VGHA.ca or by phoning Smith at 250-598-3385.

Pick-up is late November while delivery is also available at a flat fee of $10. Order deadline is Nov. 16. New this year, a $20 donation as a FrontLine Santa will give a plant(s) as a thank you to an essential worker.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


 

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