Tofino General Hospital Foundation board members Phyllis Banks, left, and Arlene McGinnis accept a gigantic cheque from Tuff City Radio’s Cameron Dennison, Kimberly Johnston and their kids Hannah and Elliott. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Fundraiser brings in $103,000 for Tofino hospital

“I was shocked. No one expected people to dig that deep.”

The West Coast raised a whopping $103,000 for the Tofino General Hospital Foundation (TGHF) last month.

Some noteworthy contributions include: a $25,000 cheque from the owners of Pacific Sands Beach Resort, $20,000 from an anonymous donor, Jenn Sheridan and Billy McGinnis for purchasing original Roy Henry Vickers paintings via the online auction to the tune of $11,500, and Amorita and Scott Adair for ponying up $4,500 during the live on-air radio bidding war to claim the ‘grand auction package’.

“I was shocked. No one expected people to dig that deep. I was overwhelmed by the generosity,” said fundraiser host Kimberly Johnston.

With the help of Johnston and Tuff City Radio’s Cameron Dennison, the TGHF was able to adapt their traditional high-spirited silent auction soiree at Shelter to an online auction fundraiser on Facebook.

“It worked on social media because we could keep adding items. It made it spontaneous. There was a lot of momentum,” said Johnston, adding that their original goal was $20,000 for the online auction.

“I just want to thank people for being so open-minded,” she went on to say.

TGHF chair Arlene McGinnis thanked Cam, Kim and the West Coast for the flood of support.

“Some people do okay, they save and stuff, others are strapped for cash. I didn’t even plan on doing this [fundraiser]. We do appreciate it very, very much,” she said.

With the funds raised, TGHF will be able to purchase new vital monitors and should be able to cover the cost of the trauma room upgrades with change to spare to save for the new hospital.

“I can’t say it enough, we need a new hospital. This little outpost, that’s all we have. It’s not right and it’s not fair,” said McGinnis.

TGHF board has been petitioning the Province and Vancouver Island Health Authority for about a decade to sign off on a new hospital for the West Coast.

“To sit back and do nothing, we can’t do that,” she said.

McGinnis, who is not a Facebook user, notes that next year they will look into sourcing a different platform to host the auction so more people can bid on items.

“I would still love to do a Shelter event. We just can’t do it yet,” McGinnis said.

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