Aberdeen Health Foundation presents stories of gratitude


NEW GLASGOW — Gratitude was a guiding theme on March 5 for the Aberdeen Health Foundation’s annual general meeting.

Five presenters shared their tributes to the support they have experienced from the Foundation, besides its gestures of funding and equipment.

Debbie MacDonald, health services manager for the women’s and children’s health program, spoke about how the Foundation has helped her team.

“We’re a mighty little team,” she said. “We’re very fortunate to have the amount of equipment we have (received) from the Foundation.”

Dawn Peters, a School-Plus clinician with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, praised the Foundation for assisting with the Quickstart Behavioral Activation program for young people.

“There are so many successes,” she said, regarding how the program has engaged young people. “It draws them out of themselves. We’re very grateful for the opportunity to do this.”

Dr. Chakshu Sharma shared what it has meant for her to choose Pictou County instead of a larger urban centre as a place to practise medicine as a community general surgeon. She recalled an 80-year-old woman who gave her three dish cloths.

“I removed a toenail and she felt better,” she said. “This does not happen in the city.”

Dr. Anne Kwasnik, director of palliative care, expressed her gratitude for the unit located at the Aberdeen Hospital and the funding the Foundation has approved for six “cuddle” beds to replace the six existing beds.

“People can share a room together and they have their time together,” she said.

Jim Shaw is among three outgoing members of the Foundation’s board of directors. The others are Peter Bennett and Neil Bysterveldt.

Shaw joined the board in 1993 and talked about changes in the ensuing 27 years. He remembered how the Foundation grew through its investment earnings and donations to the point where it could purchase the Aberdeen’s first MRI unit when the government at the time announced funding for the units for other hospitals.

“The Aberdeen was going to get an MRI, and we were going to pay for it,” he said.

The AGM included election of the same slate of officers: chairperson Robyn Eaton, vice-chairman Dr. Aaron Smith, treasurer Heidi Jamison-Mills, secretary Lisa MacDonald and past-chairman Hilary Amit. Incoming board members include Heidi Sinclair, Clinton Keay and Susan MacConnell.

Audited financial statements showed a far more positive result in 2019.

Donations nearly doubled at $862,603. Investment income was down slightly, but net realized capital gains and unrealized gains on investments were nearly $9 million, compared with $6 million in combined losses in 2018.