DONATIONS: South Asian community bids to raise $800,000 for Surrey Memorial Hospital

Jane Adams, president of the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation, at the construction site of the critical care tower just off King George Highway on 96 Avenue on Jan. 11, 2012. Jenelle Schneider/PNG

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Many from the Surrey community found a little time on Wednesday to lend a helping hand.

Local South Asian radio station RedFM held a one-day radiothon with the goal of raising $800,000 for Surrey Memorial Hospital’s family birthing unit. By early afternoon donations were close to $200,000.

“People started to show up as of 6 a.m.,” said Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation CEO Jane Adams, “and there’s just been a steady flow of all ages, you know, people coming after a shift, a night watchperson, cab drivers at the beginning or end of shift, children on their way to school.

“It’s the South Asian and largely the Sikh community coming in by the hundreds and thousands to give.”

Reconstruction is already underway to expand the province’s largest single-occupancy maternity care facility from 33 rooms to 37, along with other improvements.

The expansion will cost $4.5 million and the hospital needs $1 million raised in order to complete the unit by March 2013.

According to Adams, SMH is the second-largest hospital in B.C., with the second-most births of any provincial hospital at 4,200 a year — and South Asian newborns account for half of that.

RCMP Insp. Amrik Virk, who served on the SMH board of directors for six years, said the “generosity and the spirit” isn’t just going toward their own community.

“This is about the community getting together for a common cause for all — not for them, but for all that use that facility,” he said. “It’s something to be very proud of.”

The expansion will help with patient comfort and increased capacity so more women from Surrey and the Fraser Valley can deliver their babies close to home.

“Surrey is growing by 900 people a month and a lot of these folks who are moving to Surrey are young families, young people, so our birth rate is expanding at quite a tremendous rate,” said Adams. “We need to expand to meet the demand.”

To make a donation to Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation toward the expansion of the family birth unit or other projects, please visit smhfoundation.com.

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