For local philanthropists Dave and Rani Mann, contributing to Peace Arch Hospital’s emergency department campaign was a natural.
“We live in Panorama Ridge, our business is in South Surrey and our children are in South Surrey,” Dave, owner of Isle Of Mann Construction, told Peace Arch News. “This is our hospital.”
The couple were on hand at the hospital Wednesday for the announcement that the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation has met its $15-million fundraising goal for a new ER. Completion of fundraising means the project can break ground this fall, with a scheduled opening in 2020.
Siobhan Phillips, board chair of the foundation, told a group of residents – many of them donors – gathered in the cafeteria, that the successful campaign had been a product of many years of quiet fundraising before formal approval for the project came from the Ministry of Health in 2015.
“We ramped up our efforts in the last 21 months and the community really came through for the hospital,” Phillips said.
One of the largest single contributions to that goal was a $1 million donation from the Manns – who had issued a special challenge in which they promised to match $1 million raised from the community toward the project.
“You guys cost me a lot of money,” Dave Mann quipped in a brief impromptu speech in which he noted that both his grandchildren were born at PAH, and his father, an Alzheimer’s patient, had passed away in palliative care there.
“We come into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing,” he told the crowd, adding that he prefers describing donation as ‘sharing’ rather than ‘giving’.
“We are one big organism and we all just share our gifts,” he said.
ER campaign co-chairs Jane Manning and Dragana Sanderson told the crowd that among the largest contributions were $1.5 million from the hospital’s auxiliary society (the largest ever from the organization), $600,000 from Vern and Helga Hoing, $500,000 from Westland Insurance and a combined gift of $500,000 from the Surrey and White Rock fire departments.
The foundation’s board of directors donated more than $600,000, while some 80 per cent of hospital physicians contributed a total of more than $145,000, they said.
Emergency physician Dr. Jerrod Hendry was also on hand to thank donors.
“It means I get to do my job better – we’ll be able to see more people and give them a bit of privacy and a bit of respect,” he said.
Rani Mann said following the announcement that she had been struck by the shortage of beds and patients on gurneys in hallways when she had to take her mother to PAH.
“It was so difficult when their families came there to look after them – you wanted to do something to fix it right away. But once you get ‘in there’ you realize it’s not that easy.”
She echoed her husband’s comments that they had wanted to make their donation to the hospital with a minimum of fuss, but subsequently realized the results of issuing a public challenge was worth the extra exposure.
“In Indian culture, when you want to donate money, you do it quietly,” she said.
“But what has come out of this is amazing.”