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My name is Dr. James Harris. Over my career, I have served in several roles in medical and hospital governance locally and provincially. I was born in Prince Albert and have been a Family Physician here since 1983.

I am writing this note because I owe my life to the incredible staff at Victoria Hospital and to you, the generous donors who purchased equipment that saved me. 

On December 14, 2020 I tested COVID-19 positive, likely from contact with a COVID patient. I expected I would have a mild disease but without warning my condition very suddenly and drastically worsened. On December 20th I was admitted to the ICU at Victoria Hospital. My family was in a constant state of fear that I might not survive and around Christmas day, they were told that they should come to say goodbye to me because there was concern that I would not live through the day. I remained on a life support ventilator for 25 days.

Miraculously, I started to improve and I recovered enough to be extubated and transferred to the Covid ward in the Victoria Hospital where I spent another month. I was finally discharged home on February 16, 2021.

As I reflect on my ordeal, the Victoria Hospital functions so well because of the people who work there. Hospital care is truly a team effort from admitting and discharge staff, ward clerks, dietary, cleaning staff, maintenance, IT, pharmacy, imaging, lab, respiratory technicians, medical records, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, doctors, and others I have probably overlooked. The current Covid pandemic has put a strain on all of these people.

Moreover, I have developed a new appreciation of how important our local hospital is vital for our community. Prince Albert is not the size of Saskatoon or Regina, which both inherently have more advanced technology. But I recognized that it is the generous donations from our community that allow the Victoria Hospital Foundation to even the playing field. One of the main reasons our excellent staff can deliver the kind of care that I received, is because of the gifts from people like you, that help put the right tools in their hands. Tools such as monitors, pumps, beds, diagnostic equipment, and more.

Most won’t pay much attention to our local hospital until it impacts them personally and directly. While we all hope that it isn’t the case, the reality is that almost all of us will one day need what Victoria Hospital can provide either for ourselves or for our loved ones. I would encourage everyone who can, to support this year’s Give a Little Life Day campaign through a donation to the Victoria Hospital Foundation. Thank you for supporting our hospital, our staff, and patients like me.

 

Sincerely, 
Dr. James Harris, physician and grateful patient

The Victoria Hospital Foundation is thrilled to announce an astounding gift of $181,615.00 from Kinsmen TeleMiracle towards a critical piece of equipment for the new Malhotra Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the Victoria Hospital.  The funds will purchase a mobile DR X-ray imaging machine for the new neonatal intensive care unit, currently under construction.   The portable imaging system will be set up with software programs that will optimally image fragile or sick babies.  Newborn babies have specific considerations for imaging including low radiation doses and immediate image viewing capabilities, which this piece of equipment will provide.  The care team in our NICU will have the ability to view the images instantaneously.   This kind of bedside point of care is the future and prevents having to move the baby to another area of the hospital for imaging.  It also provides physicians precise and accurate imaging to guide them while intubating a very sick baby who is struggling to breathe.

“The Victoria Hospital Foundation would like to express our deep gratitude on behalf of Northern Saskatchewan for Kinsmen TeleMiracle’s commitment to improving the outcome of fragile babies born in our hospital. Every piece of technology needed for our new NICU will play a role in saving babies lives, and for that we are eternally grateful to Kinsmen TeleMiracle for making this generous gift.”

– Sherry Buckler, CEO, Victoria Hospital Foundation

“Thanks to the generosity of TeleMiracle donors, the Kinsmen Foundation’s Board of Directors was pleased to contribute to this vital piece of medical equipment. The NICU at the Victoria Hospital will improve the health outcomes for so many sick babies from the Prince Albert area and across northern Saskatchewan. This gift helps fulfill our mission of “Helping People Every Day.”

-Richard Kies, Executive Director, Kinsmen Foundation

In 2018, the Victoria Hospital Foundation launched a campaign to build and equip a new neonatal intensive care unit for our local hospital. Going from 350 to 4,000 square feet, the new unit is currently under construction and set to be complete late 2021. The fundraising goal to build and equip the NICU totals $4.75M, with just over $3M raised to date.

For more information please contact:

Sherry Buckler, CFRE
CEO | Victoria Hospital Foundation
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(306)940-6787

Kinsmen TeleMiracle
Richard Kies, Executive Director
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
306-371-3124

Today, Lakeland Ford unveiled two video gaming carts for the pediatric ward at the Victoria Hospital. These carts are the only ones of their kind in our province, and will allow children in hospital to play a wide variety of video games in their rooms. The two carts, one Nintendo Switch, and one Xbox One, are designed specifically for hospitals and are totally self contained and arrived fully loaded with today’s most popular games for all ages. They can be easily sanitized and have no discs or game cartridges to misplace. Lakeland Ford has also funded a new wall mounted TV for every patient room on the pediatric floor.

The Victoria Hospital Foundation would like to express our gratitude on behalf of Northern Saskatchewan for Lakeland Ford’s commitment to improving the experience of children that have to stay in our hospital.

“Our busy hospital has an even busier pediatric ward that cares for sick children ranging in age from infants to 17 years old. Most often, sick or infectious children must remain in isolation in their rooms while they recover. We are so grateful to Lakeland Ford for this incredible donation of brand new televisions and two amazing mobile gaming carts that will provide the children in our pediatrics ward with a much needed and fun distraction to lift their spirits as they get better.”
– Sherry Buckler, CEO, Victoria Hospital Foundation.
“This gift is a demonstration of our commitment to healthcare –particularly for kids – in Prince Albert and Northern Saskatchewan. Providing this unique donation to the Victoria Hospital is our way to help children and families at a time when they need it most – making a hospital stay just a little bit better. We’re extremely pleased to offer this support to our community and especially to our kids.” - Scott Newsom, Managing Partner, Lakeland Ford



For more information please contact:

Sherry Buckler, CRFE
CEO | Victoria Hospital Foundation This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(306)940-6787

Scott Newsom
Managing Partner, Lakeland Ford This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Today, the Sandra Schmirler Foundation presented the Victoria Hospital Foundation with a cheque for $58,000 to purchase vital equipment for the new Malhotra NICU opening this fall. These funds will purchase an infant ventilator as part of the ongoing campaign to equip and furnish the new Malhotra neonatal intensive care unit at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.

The board and staff of the Victoria Hospital Foundation express their gratitude on behalf of Northern Saskatchewan for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation’s commitment to caring for babies in NICUs across the country.

“Babies who are born too early or too sick can sometimes need extra assistance to breathe. This new infant ventilator will save babies’ lives and prevent the need to transfer them to other medical centres. Keeping babies close to home and their families is the best possible scenario. We are grateful to the Sandra Schmirler Foundation for helping improve healthcare in the North for our most vulnerable patients.”

Sherry Buckler, CEO, Victoria Hospital Foundation.

"The Sandra Schmirler Foundation is thrilled to be supporting the purchase of life-saving equipment for fragile babies in northern Saskatchewan. The Foundation’s dream is that all babies born too soon, too small or too sick will be cared for in a NICU equipped with state-of-the-art life-saving equipment close to their homes, family and friends."

Ian Cunningham, Chair, Sandra Schmirler Foundation

For more information please contact:

Sherry Buckler, CRFE CEO | Victoria Hospital Foundation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (306)940-6787

 

Tanya Martin, Program & Financial Services Manager

Sandra Schmirler Foundation This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 1-866-210-6011 ext 2

Congratulations to the 2021 recipients of the annual Dr. MZ Hussain Memorial Scholarship program. 

Allied professionals - Rapheal Muonagolu and Sarah Greening

Mental Health - Kathrynn Axton, Kylie Jackson, Dr. Lyndsay Foster, and Holly Samuel

RN & LPN - Paul Rumbaoa, Taina Golding, Chantelle Zelensky and Ashley Schmalz

Happy Staff/Happy Patients - Public Health Wellness Wednesdays

Meet the man whose job is to breathe for you, when you cannot.  

 

We sat down with Marvin Nicklas a Registered Respiratory Therapist since 1988.  Marvin has worked all over Western Canada and in the Middle East throughout his career and has been in Prince Albert for the past 15 years.  He is one of 6 respiratory therapists at the Victoria Hospital.

Respiratory therapists are the unsung heroes of our hospitals. They work quietly behind the scenes and always have.  You may be referred to one if you struggle with a chronic lung condition such as COPD, asthma or pneumonia.  Or in the case of an acute emergency or trauma, you will need them to intervene to keep you breathing.   From infants and children to adults, they work throughout the entire hospital in acute care and primary care settings. When it comes to chronic lung illnesses such as COPD, Marvin says there is no quick fix for anything, but respiratory therapists are there to work with each patient and help them understand the importance of their lung health. 

Now, the question on everyone’s minds:  ventilators and this terrible pandemic.  We asked Marvin about this, “When a patient has been deprived of adequate oxygen supply at the tissue level, they become hypoxic.  An oxygen level below 80% is dangerous to our vital organs and intervention is required. Ventilating a patient is never our first choice and is almost always a sign that things are extremely serious.”  Ventilation requires sedation to paralyze the patient in order to insert the equipment, and the goal is to have you on the ventilator for as short as time as possible.  “But that isn’t always how it works out”, he said.  What was scary to hear, is how many ICU survivors who come off the ventilator suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Nearly one third of those patients show symptoms of PTSD for up to two years, sometimes even longer. 

“That’s because being on a ventilator is a terrible experience for most people,” Marvin said.  “And once on the ventilator, if things deteriorate, it can be heartbreaking for family and for the patient as there really is no way to say your goodbyes.”

During this pandemic, Marvin said his team has been run off their feet - particularly during the months November – January when hospitalizations and community cases were so high.   Caring for up to 8 ventilated patients in our ICU, and managing many more on other floors with lung and breathing issues, keeps them extremely busy.

I asked Marvin if he was afraid of contracting the virus himself since he is working with COVID patients every day.  He said, “Absolutely.  I worry about it all the time.  I’m 64 after all!   But it doesn’t stop me from going to work, and I push it out of my mind the minute I walk in the hospital door.”

When asked about how COVID compares to the other respiratory diseases he has come across in his 33 years of practice, he said, “This is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.  This virus has no rules and it scares the hell out of me.  We cannot predict its path - you think it’s going in one direction, and then all of a sudden it goes another.   People think that only the elderly or those with comorbidities are at risk.” He went on to explain how untrue that is, and that he has even ventilated young, healthy adults.    

Marvin worked through the last pandemic – when H1N1 was circulating and said, looking back, that pandemic was so much easier.   With COVID, “our small hospital in Prince Albert has never seen so many ventilated patients at one time.”  He explained how hard it is on the mental health of staff when they want a patient to get well so badly, and they are not.   When he described their long days, it sounded like a war zone.   The feeling of being emotionally drained and physically exhausted at the end of each day only to come in tomorrow to find more sick people needing help to breathe.  It’s a battle each day, he says.   Thankfully, mental health supports are available for the staff through the SHA, but as Marvin says, “Often you are so stretched for time you are simply in ‘survival mode.’”  He says being able to handle stress and pressure is a vital skill for respiratory therapists and all front line staff since it is a regular occurrence on the best of days.  And on the worst of days such as during this pandemic, it’s the only way to make it through.

Aside from Covid-19, we also learned how critical respiratory therapists are to our sick babies in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Pediatrics and neonatal care also require Marvin’s expertise and knowledge.  Many fragile newborns born at the Victoria Hospital require a respiratory therapist by their side for the first hours and days of their life since the lungs are the last major organ to mature in newborn babies.  In November of 2018, premature triplets were born at the Victoria Hospital and they survived only because of the amazing work of our nursing, pediatric, and respiratory therapist teams.  This is what we mean when we say, “it takes a village.”

Marvin explained one of the hardest parts of his job is wanting to be at the bedside of each patient who needs him.   Unfortunately, like everything else, respiratory therapists must prioritize and manage the crises as each one presents itself.  Being pulled in different directions is one of the greatest challenges they face, so prioritizing becomes critical. Without being able to determine who needs their help most urgently, someone will most certainly face death.

What makes Marvin happy at work?  Interacting with his colleagues, getting to know some of his patients and most of all seeing them survive and return home to their loved ones.  

As a front line worker, Marvin recently received his first vaccination and is looking forward to his second shot.  In the meantime, he will continue to be at the bedside of those who need the help only a respiratory therapist can provide. 

On behalf of the Victoria Hospital Foundation and our entire community, we would like to thank and celebrate the ongoing skill and dedication of Marvin and all our respiratory therapists at the Victoria Hospital. 

Perilous times often illuminate the heroes we never knew existed, and for that, we are all eternally grateful.

By Sherry Buckler|Victoria Hospital Foundation

Local healthcare, for our children, right here at home.

The Victoria Hospital Foundation, the Car Guys @ Mann Northway GM, and the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group are proud to announce the outstanding success of the 15th annual Give a Little Life Day Radiothon. The single-day, 12-hour radiothon was broadcast on three JPBG stations from 6 am—6 pm raising funds to equip the new NICU for the North at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert. The final total as of 6 pm on Friday, was $592,563.00 with donations still coming in online.

The “Little Lives-Local Love” initiative was launched this fall kicking off a 2.5 million dollar, multi-year campaign to raise money to equip and furnish the new NICU at the Victoria Hospital for every mother and newborn in the north.

The entire NICU project which includes the 2018 construction campaign and the current equipment campaign, is a total 5 million dollar investment into the healthcare of our newborns. The NICU for the North is 100% funded by the Victoria Hospital Foundation with the support of their local community.

“If there’s anything this pandemic has taught us, it’s that quality community-focused healthcare is more critical now than ever. We are humbled and grateful to our community for supporting this year’s fundraising effort. Keeping our most fragile babies and their families close to home, is our highest priority and our Foundation is committed to ensuring that our hospital can always deliver the best healthcare possible for our babies and children.”
Sherry Buckler, CEO Victoria Hospital Foundation

The Foundation thanks their 2020 presenting sponsor The Car Guys - Mann Northway GMC who announced an incredible gift of $72,000 to the campaign. In addition, Mann Northway also gave up one of their two drive-thru bays for the entire 12-hour event to provide a safe and contactless donation station for anyone wishing to donate in person.

“What an amazing and rewarding experience for everyone involved! We are so proud to be part of such an amazing and important cause. A huge success and thank you to everyone who donated and made an effort for our community.”
Mark Ripley, Dealer Principal|Mann Northway Prince Albert

Fundraising for the NICU continues. For more information or to donate to the campaign, please visit helpthevic.ca, call 306-765-6105, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. As always, 100% of your donation to the Victoria Hospital Foundation stays in our community for the benefit of patients and families here at home.

Contact:

Sherry Buckler, CFRE
Victoria Hospital Foundation|CEO
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Prince Albert, SK
(306)940-6787 phone (306)765-6120 fax

Mark Ripley, Dealer Principal
Mann Northway Prince Albert
306-765-2200

Congratulations to Shelby Bonik from Home Care. She's the winner of the VHF Staff 50/50. Her winnings this pay period are $8850! 

Current staff of the former health region can enter the draw by clicking here!

The Victoria Hospital Foundation is excited to announce a special donation to the kids at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert! The Car Guys at Mann Northway GMC unveiled two brand new mini battery operated trucks dedicated to the pediatric patients of the hospital.

The Victoria Hospital sees hundreds of children each year, through our pediatric, day surgery and mental health/family treatment units. The little trucks will provide our children with an opportunity to ‘drive’ to the operating room, play with them outside in the playground or enjoy a much-needed distraction while in the hospital receiving care and treatment. Enhancing the often-sterile medical environment in which children receive treatment when visiting the hospital is critical to helping them be less afraid of doctors and procedures as they grow up.

"Going to the hospital can be a scary experience for most of us. And for children, first impressions are often lasting impressions. We are so appreciative to the Car Guys @ Mann Northway for this clever and heartwarming donation to the children at the Victoria Hospital."
Sherry Buckler, VHF CEO

“This is such a rewarding experience to be involved in for all. The Car Guys understand that families go through tough challenges everyday and are just trying to put a few smiles on some young faces!”
Mark Ripley, GM Mann Northway GMC

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Investing in Local Healthcare

Your generous donations will support the Victoria Hospital Foundation’s work, providing funds for specialized equipment, innovative patient care services and upgrading of facilities and replacement of out-dated equipment.

 

Our Mission

The Victoria Hospital Foundation has as its mission to build awareness of and inspire investment in local health care and the well-being of the people of Prince Albert (SK) and surrounding communities.

Learn More

Contact Us

Victoria Hospital Foundation
Box 3000 - 1200 24th Street W, Prince Albert, SK  S6V 5T4 Canada

Phone: 1-855-816-LIFE or (306)765-6105
Fax: (306)765-6120
E-mail: info@helpthevic.ca