By Matthew Liebenberg
The Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation and community partners have successfully concluded a major fundraising campaign for a new digital X-ray machine to replace outdated radiology equipment at the Prairie Health Care Centre in Cabri.
They shared the good news with the community during an on-ice announcement before the start of a Whitemud Hockey League playoff game between the Cabri Bulldogs and the Shaunavon Badgers at the SWT Arena – Cabri Ice Centre, Feb. 3.
Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Jim Dekowny said they wanted to make the announcement at a location in the community that will reach a lot of area residents.
“You just try to find the best place to do something like that where you’re going to get as many eyes and ears as possible, and we all know that the hub of small towns is their hockey games,” he mentioned.
“My team and I figured it would be a great idea to get everybody out on the ice. … We wanted people to know now that the money is there and if they don’t, then their neighbour would and coffee row now knows that the money is there, it’s being spent in Cabri, and they’re getting a new X-ray machine.”
The campaign to raise $250,000 for a new digital X-ray machine was launched in January 2021 during a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Starting it in 2021 when we were in the middle of everything and then being able to do it in two years was a testament to the people in Cabri and the surrounding area,” he said. “There was a lot of hard work done by a lot of people and at the end of the day we were able, along with the Ladies Hospital Auxiliary, to raise the $250,000 to get this new X-ray machine into the Prairie Health Care Centre.”
The Healthcare Foundation has done major fundraising campaigns in southwest Saskatchewan over the years, but this one is significant due to the size of the amount for a local campaign to benefit rural health care.
“We have many regional and smaller care facilities throughout the southwest that we continue to raise money for and this is just one of those things where we needed to raise $250,000 for an X-ray machine,” he said. “Cabri and the surrounding area really stepped up and we were able to finish that off and had a pretty cool announcement.”
Representatives from various organizations joined Dekowny for the on-ice announcement, which highlighted the extent of the support for the campaign. They were from the Ladies Hospital Auxiliary, Cabri Lions Club, Town of Cabri, Village of Abbey, several rural municipalities (Clinworth 230, Miry Creek 229, Pittville 169 and Riverside 168) and the Living Sky Casino, which donated $5,000 to reach the $250,000 goal.
The Abbey, Pennant and Wheatland Hutterite colonies were not represented on the ice, but they were also recognized for their support of the campaign.
The success of the campaign was a result of wide support in the community. There were personal donations, memorial donations, fundraising events and business donations.
“Obviously we would have liked to have done it as quickly as possible, but when you’re dealing with that amount of money you just got to be realistic,” Dekowny said. “I think it is still pretty cool to get it done in two years.”
He highlighted the Healthcare Foundation’s partnership with the Ladies Hospital Auxiliary to achieve the fundraising goal.
“The Ladies Hospital Auxiliary does so much for the community and healthcare out there,” he said. “It was an honour for us to be able to do this project with them. They are the faces of the community and without them we don’t succeed at all, and for us to team up with them and partner with them made this a project that was very successful.”
The X-Ray room at the Prairie Health-Care Centre performs an average of 247 X-rays per year. He felt the replacement of the old machine will help to achieve the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s goal to provide healthcare services locally to communities.
“Saskatchewan Health Authority’s primary focus is to keep healthcare local as best they can and I think this is a prime example of that,” he said.
The current X-ray machine is outdated and still uses film exposures. It takes longer to evaluate results and the image does not provide the same level of detail as a digital X-ray. In many instances the need for higher quality X-rays means Cabri area residents have to travel to other healthcare facilities for radiology services.
Digital radiology technology provides instant X-ray images that can be displayed on a computer workstation and forwarded through the Saskatchewan Picture Archiving and Communication System to a healthcare professional at a different location, which can result in faster reports and diagnosis.
The installation of the new digital X-ray machine at the Prairie Health-Care Centre is expected to take place in the fall of 2023.