Our Community: Siblings pitch in to help sick kids

Sick children spending time recuperating at the pediatric unit at the Royal Jubilee Hospital will find their stay less boring, thanks to the efforts of a 12-year-old former patient.

Cassandra Campbell recently raised more than $2,600 to purchase an iPad, six portable DVD players, a number of DVD movies, some Xbox games, baskets of puzzles, toys and stuffies for the pediatric unit of the Victoria General Hospital.

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The Grade 7 student of Dunsmuir Middle School was recently a patient at the unit, undergoing some tests. Her first stay was in October and she returned for further testing in March. While her experience with health-care workers was positive, what she found lacking was age-appropriate entertainment for young adults and children.

Up-to-date technology and video games are an integral part of any child’s leisure life, but such items aren’t usually found in hospitals.

Campbell decided to do something about it.

“While she was here, she said she found it ‘boring’,” said Sarah Plant, media relations manger for Island Health. “It prompted her to try to raise some money to buy some things to better entertain the kids stuck in hospital.”

The Langford pre-teen hosted a car wash, sold cookies, organized a fundraiser at the 4Cats art studio, distributed donation jars at local businesses and opened an account at a bank for donations. Her initial goal was to raise $1,000 for an iPad and some DVD movies. But support from her community in just two weeks was overwhelming, giving her the opportunity to purchase more electronics to make time fly in hospital.


Volunteers help out at Waterview

Spring has sprung at Pacifica Housing’s Our Gardens program with a donation and volunteers helping out from the local branch of Raymond James.

On Thursday, staff from the investment company rolled up their sleeves to work alongside formerly homeless adults at Waterview Apartments, a 49-unit supported housing community managed by Pacifica. The volunteers helped get the garden at the converted motel ready for the growing season and also hosted a barbecue to celebrate the event.

The Our Gardens program is a community garden initiative offered at five Pacifica Housing complexes. Residents are able to get involved in all aspects of gardening, from constructing raised beds to planting, weeding and harvesting.

Pacifica Housing is currently seeking experienced volunteer gardeners who can to spend one to two hours a week, at one or more locations, to offer advice, educate, assist and encourage tenants. For more information, go to pacificahousing.ca.


Lambrick students win science prizes

Two students from Lambrick Park secondary school were recently awarded a $500 cash prize as one of eight Manning Innovation Achievement Award winners at the 53rd annual Canada Wide Science Fair, held two weeks ago at the University of Windsor.

Vicki Kleu, 18, and Austin Sawyer, 17, developed a reusable and fully biodegradable oil adsorption pad to contain marine oil spills in Canadian harbors.

“An inexpensive adsorbent boom was built that picks up over 32 millilitres of motor oil per gram of fibre. Approximately 90 per cent of the adsorbed oil can be recovered and residual oil can be washed out using canola,” the pair explained in a statement. “Heat of combustion tests were done on soil near the burned fibre showed that the oil did not migrate with water movement in typical watering conditions.”

Apart from the prize money the pair also won the Senor Excellence Bronze Medal and their choice of an entrance scholarship to one of two Canadian universities.

This year the science fair brought together 463 young scientists in grades 7-12 to compete for close to $1 million in cash, prizes and scholarships. The Ernest C. Manning Innovation Awards Foundation introduced its Young Canadian Program in 1992. For more information, go to manningawards.ca.


SMU students win top speaking awards

Nine students from St. Michael’s University School took home top awards in this year’s pan-provincial French public speaking competition, the 31st Concours d’art oratoire.

They were among 10,000 students from across British Columbia who entered the competition. An estimated 85,000 students participate annually across Canada.

“In addition to the cultural and language benefits, Concours d’art oratoire helps students develop their creative and public speaking abilities, as well as self-confidence,” said Patti Holm, president of Canadian Parents for French BC and Yukon, a non-profit group which sponsored the event. For more information, go to bc-yk.cpf.ca/actvities/youth-activities/concours-dart-oratoire.


Scrub a Bug, help buy a bus

Beckley Farm Lodge, a seniors’ care facility in James Bay is hosting a Scrub a Bug Day on Saturday.

People with walkers are invited to drop-in to get their mobility equipment cleaned and sterilized by the home’s Medco washer.

“The Medco washer used for the project was funded through the Beckley Farm Lodge Auxiliary’s first annual golf tournament at Prospect Lake in 2012,” said Dough Skinner, a volunteer. “There are very few of them around and yet it’s a vital tool in fighting infection, including the so-called superbugs, as mobility equipment are difficult to clean.”

The fundraiser is part of the Put A Bow On a Bus For Beckley program, with a goal of raising $80,000 to $100,000 to replace the Lodge’s bus, which serves the Lodge’s residential, day and outreach program clients.

The Scrub a Bug day is just one of their fund-raising efforts this year. The principal one will be their third golf tournament at Prospect Lake on Sept. 7.

The cleaning costs $10 per wheelchair (wheelchairs with foam backs that do not detach cannot be cleaned in the washer) and $5 per walker. The event runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the lodge, 530 Simcoe St. For more information, call Florence Skinner, 250-592-1604 or Dorothy Adam, 250-368-9923.


Donation provides electric dialysis chairs

Patients living with kidney disease or facing acute kidney failure on Vancouver Island are the main beneficiaries of four new electric dialysis chairs purchased by a donation of more than $36,000 by the Pacific Blue Cross Community Connection Health Foundation to the Royal Jubilee Hospital’s Building Care Together campaign.

The dialysis chairs are necessary for life-sustaining treatment for patients experiencing kidney failure. Patients can spend up to six hours a day, four times a week, using these chairs while receiving dialysis treatment.

Two of the new chairs will be allocated to the Victoria hospital’s Renal Unit, the main dialysis centre for all hemodialysis patients on Vancouver Island. The other two chairs will go to Island Health’s Home Dialysis Unit, where patients are trained to perform dialysis at home.

“We are very thankful for the Community Connection Health Foundation’s generous gift towards the Renal Unit at Royal Jubilee Hospital,” said Leslee Farrell, chair of the campaign. “These new dialysis chairs will ensure patients are comfortable and relaxed while receiving the best possible medical treatment right here in our community.”

Pacific Blue Cross Community Connection Health Foundation supports programs and community organizations striving to improve health outcomes in the areas of mental health and chronic disease in British Columbia. For more information, go to pac.bluecross.ca/company/community.


Run benefits Brain Tumour Foundation

People who miss walking, running or cheering at today’s Victoria Spring Sprint in support of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada still have until the end of July to help the charity achieve its $50,000 goal.

The funds goes toward research and advocacy for the 55,000 Canadians living with a brain tumour. Every day 27 Canadians find out they have a brain tumour, a life-changing diagnosis.

Registration starts at 9:30 a.m., the walk/run begins at 11 a.m. and the wrap-up event at 1 p.m. in Parking Lot #10, off Ring Road at the University of Victoria. For more information, go to springsprint.ca. or braintumor.ca.


Sharpshooter off to British competition

Cadet Warrant Officer Zachary Schmit of 2483 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps will be heading off to an international marksmanship shooting competition England next month. The Victoria teenager and 17 of his peers make up the Royal Canadian Army Cadet National Rifle Team, competing against hundreds of other cadets at the international level for large bore marksmanship shooting.

The team will compete in the so-called Imperial Meeting in Bisley, England.

“I’ll be graduating from high school and then heading straight to Ottawa,” said Schmit in a statement, “I can’t wait for this amazing trip with a bunch of great friends.”

The cadet program offers safe and fun fullbore marksmanship training at the Connaught National Army Cadet Summer Training Centre in Nepean, Ontario. Over the course of a summer up to 500 cadets are taught the necessary theoretical, technical, and practical skills required for success in large bore competitions. At the same time they learn transferable, career-enhancing skills which will last a lifetime.

Cadets is a national program for youth aged 12 to 18. The program aims to develop in youth the attributes of good citizenship and leadership, promote physical fitness and stimulate an interest in the land, sea and air activities of the Canadian Forces.

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