Earlier this year, Lions Clubs across Nova Scotia worked together to raise funds for a special project at the IWK.
Perry Oliver, who is the Lions’ district governor for Nova Scotia, put out a challenge to club presidents last year.
“When I came in as district governor in July, I thought it would be good to get the province’s club together on a project,” Oliver says, adding one of the clubs’ issues this year was pediatric cancer.
Oliver says he and a committee of Lions met with Dr. Conrad Fernandez, head of the hematology and oncology division at the IWK. That department treats children from the Maritimes who have cancer, serious hematological diseases and bleeding disorders. Some of those patients get treatment as outpatients and ambulatory visits have increased over the last five years. That means more space in the clinic is needed for those patients. As a result, the IWK staff, doctors and the Lions came up with a project that will redesign a clinic room where those outpatients will receive treatments such as chemotherapy and IV infusisons.
“Some of the patients stay for 24 hours and they don’t have the space for them,” Oliver says.
The total cost of the room is $22,000, so Oliver put out the call to all the clubs in the province to raise the money. The 70 clubs with 1,824 members across Nova Scotia got to work raising the funds in February, reaching their goal in just a few months. Clubs in Bedford, Sackville and Fall River raised about $9,000. Oliver says clubs created their own fundraisers such as breakfasts, dinners and bingo games, to gather the money for the treatment room. He says one club donated a quilt that was raffled off and raised $400.
“I’m very proud of all the clubs,” Oliver says. “Our motto since 1917 is ‘We Serve.’ This province shows that when there is a need in the community, we still serve.”
Mary Theresa Ross, manager, personal and planned gifts at the IWK Foundation, says the treatment room will make a difference for thousands of children and their families who are at the IWK each year for hematology and oncology treatments. The room will be completed this year.
“Donors like the Lions Club share our belief that Maritime women and children deserve access to nothing less than the best health care, right here at home,” Ross says. “It’s through the continued generosity and support of the Maritime community that the IWK continues to grow and evolve as a world-class facility.”
Oliver says if there are funds left over beyond the cost to create the treatment room, they will be used to purchase books, games, puzzles, video games and other items the kids at the treatment room can use.
“Whatever they need to make their stay better,” Oliver says.
Oliver has been a member of the Lions organization for 30 years and will retire as district governor this summer.
“This is an excellent way to end my term,” Oliver says. “This is the project I wanted to see done this year and all the clubs across Nova Scotia made it a reality.”