Victoria Hospitals Foundation hopes to raise $4M for new imaging equipment

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation launched its latest fundraising campaign on Thursday with a story of how the new technology it hopes to acquire can change lives.

The foundation is aiming to raise $4 million for imaging equipment. A leading-edge CT scanner and 3 Tesla MRI have already been purchased, and were on display at Royal Jubilee Hospital at Thursday’s launch event.

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Mitch Lepore, who suffered a life-altering brain injury when he fell from a 15-metre cliff during a hike in 2012, said imaging didn’t just play a pivotal role during the acute stage of his injury.

“[It] also helped provide my family and myself insight into how my injury had and would impact my life,” said Lepore, who credits Victoria General Hospital caregivers with saving his life.

More than 275,000 medical imaging procedures are performed at Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals every year.

“For medical imaging to be effective, we need powerful equipment,” said Tom Siemens, the foundation vice-chairman, noting donors fund 40 per cent of the equipment in area hospitals.

The new CT scanner can give 1,000 images, compared with 20 on the old machine, while exposing the patient to less radiation.

A new ultrasound machine has improved spatial resolution, to provide better images, while the new MRI machine has faster imaging and higher-resolution images.

“We are now seeing things that we have never seen before,” said Dr. Alan Andrew, a radiologist and acting medical director of medical imaging for Island Health.

Although the goal is to raise $11 million in total, $7 million in funding has already been secured — $2.4 million from the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, and the remaining $4.6 million shared between Island Health and the Capital Regional Hospital District.

The campaign, dubbed Big Picture, is looking to the community to raise the remaining $4 million — $1 million has already been raised at the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Visions Gala event on Nov. 16.

Contributions can be made online, by calling 250-519-1750 or mailing donations to Wilson Block, 1952 Bay St., Victoria, B.C., V8R 1J8.

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