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Tour to help spread awareness
Director trying to improve relationships between communities and Stanton Hospital foundation

Chris Puglia
Northern News Services
Published Monday, February 24, 2014

For many outside Yellowknife, the Stanton Territorial Hospital is an out-of-sight-out-of-mind kind of facility until it is needed. Those same people likely do not give the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation much of a second thought, if they know it exists at all.

Each year, Run For Our Lives, a foundation initiative, raises between $70,000 and $150,000 in five communities - Inuvik, Norman Wells, Fort Simpson, Hay River and Yellowknife. Aside from that, it has very few fundraising activities outside of the capital.

Rebecca Alty, executive director with the foundation, is working on expanding the organization's profile across the NWT for mutual benefit of the hospital and the patients it serves.

"For this step we're looking to get out and speaking to residents to see what interests them in the hospital and how they envision themselves getting more involved," said Alty. "If we could get volunteer committees going, it'd be interesting to see if could we do a Christmas gala in every community."

Alty travelled to Norman Wells and Inuvik earlier this month and will be heading to Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk at the end of the month. The hospital also serves Nunavut's Kitikmeot region.

The idea for her short regional tour is to start spreading the word about what the foundation does and not only how people can help out but how the organization helps patients across the territory.

For example, through fundraising efforts the foundation has been able to help the hospital purchase a variety of equipment over the years, including bassinets and a digital mammography machine

Alty said by meeting with people throughout the territory, the foundation can discover ways to enhance hospital services that appeal to the needs of every region.

In Norman Wells, for example, she said the people she spoke to expressed concerns about diabetes and cancer.

The Stanton Territorial Hospital Association is one of two such organizations in the NWT. The other is in Hay River, but Alty said both Inuvik and Norman Wells have ideas of also starting their own.

Alty said if more foundations began cropping up in different communities, there might be an opportunity for them to all work together.

"It is a lot of work and you do sometimes get donations that walk in off the street but there is a lot of relationship development," she said. "If we joined forces I think we could be even more successful and provide better health care to residents."

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