Starlite fundraising campaign a shining success

East Kootenay Foundation for Health raises $372,000 for East Kootenay lab equipment

Regional health care facilities are going to get some new lab equipment thanks to the generosity of donors during the East Kootenay Foundation for Health’s (EKFH) Starlite campaign, which raised $372,000.

The campaign smashed its goal of $300,000, which will be used to upgrade lab equipment in health care facilities across the region, according to Brenna Baker, the executive director for EKFH.

“It’s been a tremendous turnout of donors coming on board to support lab equipment,” said Baker. “It certainly surpassed our expectations and we’re excited to be able to make a difference in health care.”

A major piece of equipment that is set for purchase is called a MALDI-TOF, which can turn around an accurate identification of bacteria within 10 minutes to 24 hours.

READ: Hospital gets new diagnostic equipment, eyes additional technology

Currently, the East Kootenay Regional Hospital has to send away bacteria samples to Kelowna or Vanocuver for identification, a process that can sometimes take longer than a week.

“I know the pathologists in the lab are super excited about it; just something they’ve needed for a long time,” said Baker.

The MALDI-TOF carries a hefty price tag of $300,000 but should hopefully be in the East Kootenay Regional Hospital lab by April and will serve the entire region, said Baker.

“It affects the whole region, not just Cranbrook residents, but everybody in our East Kootenay region,” she said. “It’s’ going to be a time-saver, a money-saver and a life-saver.”

Though the MALDI-TOF will be based out of Cranbrook, significant donations to the Starlite campaign came from Columbia Valley and the Elk Valley.

The Windermere Lions Club donated $25,000, the Kimberley Health Care Auxiliary donated $50,000, and the Invermere Health Care Auxiliary donated $100,000. Many other fundraising events and donors in Cranbrook and beyond also helped the EKFH reach and surpass its goal.

“In all our communities, every lab is so important to health care, so I think that was the other great thing about Starlite is it helped educate the public on the needs of the lab and how important it is,” added Baker.

Five health care facilities and two health centres from Creston to Golden to the Alberta border benefit from EKFH fundraising and services.

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