Ventilator fundraising campaign goal reached

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Additional donated funds to be used for other needed COVID-19 equipment 

MANITOULIN – In a two-week period the fundraising campaign for the purchase of four new ventilators for the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC)’s two hospital sites (two each in Mindemoya and Little Current) has been met and surpassed—additional funds provided will go toward further equipment needed for the fight against COVID-19.

“We would like to thank the Manitoulin Island communities, First Nations, businesses, individuals and everyone for their tremendous generosity and quick response to this campaign,” stated Lynn Foster, president and CEO of MHC, when contacted by the Recorder on Monday. “Every penny we receive from the campaign (so far and in the future) will go toward COVID-19 activities.” 

“We met the fundraising goal of $80,000 for the ventilators and the intent of the campaign was to raise money for the ventilators. However, there will be other costs associated with COVID-19,” said Ms. Foster. She explained, “at this point we have been approved in principle for our recovery centre’s concept (a field hospital in the NEMI recreation centre), but we haven’t been told if this is going to be funded.” 

She explained the MHC has requested quotes for producers of new technology to disinfect used N95 masks for staff in the hospitals.  “I’ve asked for quotes and references on new technology used to disinfect used N95 masks to sanitize the masks using an ultraviolet torch. With this process we could disinfect N95 masks in 40 minutes.” The masks can be placed on a clothesline in a room with the ultraviolet torch used to disinfect the masks, “so that we would have used but sanitized N-95 masks to use again.” She pointed out currently the province has asked the hospitals to put used N95 masks in a bag not to be used again.  

“The quote I received (for the ultraviolet torch) is around $45,000 in US funds,” Ms. Foster told the Recorder.  “So the $149,190 fits nicely to help pay for these costs as well. She pointed out putting an ultraviolet torch in a room helps sanitize the room and everything in it. So even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over there are other applications we could use this torch for in our operations.”

Ms. Foster stressed that the purchase of the ultraviolet torch concept is very preliminary at this point. “No decisions have been made at this point.”

“So although we have reached the initial campaign figure of $80,000 we will be incurring other costs. We certainly don’t want to discourage others from making donations. The money will be put to good use,” continued Ms. Foster. 

The total amount received as of April 3 was $149,190. 

As was reported previously, a letter had been sent out to local municipalities, First Nations, businesses and others from M’Chigeeng First Nation  Chief Linda Debassige, with M’Chigeeng having spearheaded the campaign with a donation of $10,000. Some of the bigger contributors in the campaign thus far include M’Chigeeng First Nation, Sheshegwaning First Nation, the Douglas A. Smith Family Foundation, Manitoulin Transport, B.J. Corbiere/Wright Memorial Hockey Tournament, Little Current Lions Club, Bousquet Realty and Bousquet Family Holdings, Whitefish River First Nation, Central Manitoulin, Township of Assiginack, and Zhiibaahaasing First Nation who have contributed $10,000 each. 

The Town of Gore Bay has donated $5,000, as well as Marcel and Lucille Gervais who have donated $5,000, while the Stanley Park Campground and JK Automotive (Joe and Kim Moor) have each contributed $3,500 each.

The Recorder also reported in last week’s edition newspaper that Billings Township will be donating $10,000 to the campaign as well.