Lions to support new diagnostic tools

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For Haliburton resident Andy Chvedukas, there are few things more important than raising money for causes that will better the community.

A relative newcomer to the Highlands, Chvedukas said it didn’t take long to learn how generous people in Haliburton County can be. Now, he’s trying to tap into that through a new fundraiser the Haliburton and District Lions Club is hosting to support the Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation in its commitment to purchase diagnostic imaging equipment for the hospital.

An ‘Autumn Harvest’ dance will take place at the Haliburton Legion Oct. 6, featuring music from Highlands soul band Adverse Conditions, beef on a bun dinner, and live auction. Tickets are $35 each, or $60 for two.

“This is a close-knit community where everyone looks after each other. To have this diagnostic imaging in Haliburton County is going to be a big plus for this community,” Chvedukas said. “The Lions club wants to do its part to support this fundraising effort, because it’s going to take a lot of money to get it over the line.”

There will be several items available during the auction, including a private concert by Canadian singer and keyboard player Carl Dixon, and $250 of meat supplied by Jim Phoenix of Black Angus Beef.

Chvedukas said he’s hoping to raise $10,000, with some of the money earmarked for other long-time Lions club causes, such as supporting a national campaign to breed and train service dogs for people with disabilities, maintenance and upgrades to the ‘Enchanted Forest’ at Abbey Gardens, and various youth, art, and recreation camps.

Melanie Klodt Wong said fundraisers are vital for the HHHS Foundation. Earlier this year, the organization committed to raising money for a CT scanner and mammography unit – approved by the province in July. HHHS acting CEO Veronica Nelson pegged the cost of the machines at between $3 million and $3.5 million.

Klodt Wong wouldn’t commit to a fundraising goal, noting the foundation also wants to upgrade existing ultrasound and X-ray machines alongside purchasing the new equipment. She acknowledged it would be a multi-million-dollar commitment.

While there is some concern the fallout of the recent closure of the Minden emergency department may cause people to think twice about giving to HHHS, Klodt Wong noted the foundation operates as its own entity and will make the final decision about where the money is going. She noted the project would benefit everyone living in Haliburton County.

Diagnostic imaging supports the needs of the County in so many different ways – like keeping EMS local and making your services more efficient. Right now, if a doctor needs to get a CT scan for someone, it takes a long time figuring out where to send them, can we get transport arranged, is there a nurse available to go on that trip? It’s so complicated and takes unnecessary hours out of a person’s day, and is time consuming for doctors, nurses and paramedics,” Klodt Wong said.

Since neither the Ontario government nor HHHS sets aside money for equipment upgrades, Klodt Wong said that burden falls on the community.

Once the fundraising effort is complete, and the equipment purchased and installed, Klodt Wong hopes it will help attract more health care professionals.

“A CT scanner is a stethoscope for doctors. It’s a basic tool. If you don’t have one, doctors don’t feel like they can do their job. This is about finding a way to give our doctors the tools they need. If it helps bring more primary care physicians and nurses, that’s an added bonus.”

For more information, or to purchase a ticket, visit haliburtonlions.com, or call 705-457-1354.