With the Cockwell family and Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve Ltd. this week contributing $500,000 towards the new CT scanner and CT mammography unit at the Haliburton hospital, the campaign is now at 60 per cent of its goal.

Melanie Klodt Wong of the Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation said that as of May 13, they had raised $2.59 million of their $4.3 million goal. That includes $1 million from the County of Haliburton, proceeds from last year’s Matt Duchene charity golf tournament, previouslyraised funds and gifts, and the CockwellForest’s half-a-million dollars.

Klodt Wong said, “we need another $1.7 million to achieve our goal but I’m an optimist. I don’t want to just achieve it. I want to exceed it.

“This is the beginning of important and desperately-needed upgrades at HHHS and we want to make sure that the things they need are possible – and so we will continue to pursue gifts of all sizes and ask folks to dig deep for this important cause.”

Malcolm Cockwell, managing director of the Forest, said, “as a major employer in the County, we want to ensure that our employees, their families, all residents and visitors to the region have access to lifesaving diagnostic tools locally, if and when they need them.”

The Forest employs about 70 people in Haliburton County, who all have families, and attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Cockwell added they were “honoured” to make the gift to help ensure the best health care resources are available in the area. “I hope that this gift will encourage others to support this important initiative.”

The Foundation announced the fundraising target of $4.3 million for the expansion of diagnostic imaging services at HHHS in the fall. Soon after, Haliburton County committed $1 million to the campaign on condition they had a seat on the HHHS board.

Lead volunteer for the campaign, Tayce Wakefield, said they were very appreciative that Haliburton Forest and the Cockwell family had made the significant contribution. “Along with the County commitment, this is a strong start for our fundraising campaign to improve local health care services.”

Warden Liz Danielsen, who now sits on the HHHS board, said it was “extremely heartening to see such a substantial donation being made by a local private enterprise. Our sincere thanks are extended to the Cockwell family and Haliburton Forest for this significant contribution towards health care in the County.”

The new diagnostic imaging suite is currently under construction and the CT scanner is expected to arrive in June. The digital mammography unit is anticipated later this year.

Klodt Wong added, “this positive impact speaks to the theme chosen for this campaign: ‘Here for You’. I recently spoke to a medical radiation technologist who mentioned that having services side-by-side will positively impact the experience of their patients.”

She added the new equipment will significantly improve the quality and speed of access to diagnostic imaging services for patients and is the first step in building a strong complement of healthcare services.

The announcement was timed to coincide with the Victoria Day weekend, which traditionally brings seasonal residents back to the County in droves.

Klodt Wong said, “we wanted to get the word out that this is a big campaign. There’s still a lot of money to raise and we want to make sure folks are aware of this happening. We have to get the rest of the dollars in the door so that it’s paid off.”

The volunteer fundraising team led by Wakefield has representatives from across the County, including Kurtis Bishop, Bob Bullock, Michael Harrison, Peter Henry, Pat Kennedy, Mike McKeon, Klara Oyler, Roger Trull and Dale Walker, supported by the HHHS Foundation board of directors.

Klodt Wong noted other upcoming fundraising includes the annual Duchene tournament, at Blairhampton July 19, and the Health Radiothon Aug. 15-16. For more information, go to the Foundation website: hhhs.ca/foundation.

For more information about the campaign, and to discuss how you can get involved, contact Klodt Wong (mklodtwong@hhhs.ca). 705-457-1580