When the Elk Falls pulp mill in Campbell River closed, money collected by employees through a benevolent fund was distributed to various charities in the Comox Valley and Campbell River.
One of those was the St. Joseph’s General Hospital Foundation.
The Elk Falls Benevolent Society donated $13,000 to the St. Joseph’s General Hospital Foundation, and the money was used to purchase new motorized parallel bars for rehabilitation services.
In all, the Elk Falls Benevolent Society gave about $30,000 to Comox Valley charities, as one third of the mill’s employees came from the Valley, and it donated about $100,000 to charities in Campbell River, as two-thirds of the mill’s employees were from that region, explained society member Ron Johnson.
“The two hospitals were the first choices,” he said. “We got the list from (St. Joseph’s General Hospital Foundation executive director) Lynn Dashkewytch of the different things the hospital needed, and we saw the people in rehab wanted parallel bars. It worked out really well.”
The parallel bars, which are used by six to eight patients per day, electronically adjust and can be customized to meet patients’ needs, while the old bars had to be adjusted manually, explained Lyne L’Heureux, co-ordinator of rehab services.
“This is fantastic,” she said. “Having the right equipment makes a big difference.”
The parallel bars are used by patients who need help standing, hopping, shifting their weight and walking, such as those who have had hip or leg fractures, joint replacements or strokes or who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, explained L’Heureux.