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August 2022

Charles and Edith Simmons Memorial

By Memorial Tributes, News

Charles and Edith Simmons were married for an amazing 63 years together and had two wonderful children, Jeff and Beverley (Bev), who we at the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation had the pleasure to get to know recently. Edith passed away in 2015 followed shortly after by Charles in 2016, and they left a gift in their will Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH). In 2017, we named a patient care room in the Emergency Department in celebration of their generous gift.

Delayed by COVID, Jeff brought his sister Bev to NRGH to see their parents’ plaque in August 2022. We all had a wonderful tour of the Emergency Department, which is coming up for the 10th anniversary of its renovation!

The Emergency Department at NRGH typically sees 180 patients per day, a number that has jumped to 210 over the past six months. This marks a 16% increase in patients which may not sound like much, but we were assured it makes a huge impact on the day-to-day operations and capacity of the Emergency Department. That’s why the design of it is so special. The department boasts a unique design with streaming care in mind: a form of triaging that allows higher needs patients quicker access to services, with a dedicated area away from lower needs patients. “The infrastructure in this department is person- and patient-centric,” said Rebecca McGregor, Manager of NRGH Emergency Services. “The design of it is unique in north America. We wanted to make sure patient care, not metrics, drove its design. Patients are our top priority at NRGH.”

The Charles and Edith Simmons Patient Room is a special place inside the Emergency Department that is designed to be a safe, quiet space away from the milieu of the larger department. It is reserved for patients that have experienced trauma or who may have to undergo unsettling exams or treatments for their issues. “Everything can happen in here,” McGregor told us. “We designed this room to have enough space for family, friends, counsellors and other resource providers to be with the patients. It can also house any machines required for exams to address a number of issues.”

For Jeff and Bev, the visit was a wonderful reminder of the generosity of their parents, and a great opportunity for the two of them to visit with one another. They share a love of motorcycling, and we laughed as they reminisced about their fun trips around Canada and to the states. Bev is a bit of a daredevil, and Jeff was accepting of this but still appropriately concerned for his sister’s safety. There was good-natured ribbing all around, which is indicative of their upbringing with parents who, by all accounts, both had wonderful senses of humour.

Jeff and Bev, it was a pleasure to meet you. We look forward to seeing you again.

The Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation fundraises for state-of-the-art medical equipment for our hospital other healthcare facilities in our region. Right now, you can help us fund the purchase of all critical care medical equipment needed for the new Intensive Care Unit at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, expected to open in late 2023. To make a donation, please visit

-The Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation

Main photo: Beverley and Jeff Simmons

Second photo: Matt (Beverley’s son) with Charles and Edith Simmons, 2015


From Jeff and Bev Simmons, 2017

 From the inception of their time together, it was to be a solid and unwavering 63-year marriage. It began when our Mom was actually dating two fellows at the same time, our Dad being one of them. One day, the other fellow telephoned our Mom at her family home and her father picked up the phone and said, “That you Charlie?” Needless to say, from that day forward it was to be only our father for the remainder of mom’s days.

They both had strong roots in Vancouver BC, and never strayed very far from this province in their travels. They felt a strong tie to the Pacific Northwest coastal area, and so focused their pleasure time on and around those ocean waters by boat.

Our parents, aka Chuck and Edie, began their married life in the Lower Mainland. They were true West Coasters and we always had boats on which we spent many weekends and summer holidays cruising and fishing the West Coast.

In the late 60’s we moved to Castlegar in the West Kootenay. Dad became Chief Electrician at Trail Regional Hospital and worked there until his retirement in 1989. He certainly knew the intricacies of a hospital and took a special interest in the elevators and the diesel powered back-up electrical system. He would often travel to the Penticton Hospital as well where he looked after the elevators and back-up power systems there. Dad was a member of the Castlegar RCMP Auxiliaries and also the local SAR (Search and Rescue) organization.

Mom worked for the Castlegar RCMP Detachment until her retirement about the same time as Dad’s. We aren’t sure of her exact title, but she was referred to as “Mom” by all the Members at the Detachment. It was not uncommon for us to have a member on duty in uniform at our house for Sunday and Christmas dinners. It was also not unheard of for a member to show up for breakfast after the end of night shift. Mom was an avid gardener and also enjoyed sewing and knitting.

Funny story, some time after I (Jeff) had left home, I was stopped for a traffic infraction on Hwy 99 near the Deas Tunnel. When the officer saw my licence he asked if I was related to Edie in Castlegar. When I said yes, he blurted out “you’re Mom’s kid!!!” He had been transferred to Delta from Castlegar. We had a few laughs and swapped stories there on the side of the highway, and sent me on my way. Told me to slow down though.

Bev was always in demand to be a New Year’s Eve babysitter amongst the detachment members, and they would put their reservation in early to retain her.

Shortly after retiring, Chuck and Edie returned to their West Coast roots and moved to Halfmoon Bay on the Sunshine Coast where they had been building their retirement home. They lived there until 2006 when they moved to Nanaimo. In their retirement years, they enjoyed camping in one of the many RVs they owned. They were also members of the Old Car Club and owned and toured in their old restored cars.

As they aged and their medical needs began increasing, they found it difficult to live on the Sunshine Coast and commuting to Vancouver for services that were not available there. The move to Nanaimo solved that as everything they needed medically was here at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Their final few years included many visits to NRGH Emergency Department. They were always treated with respect and kindness and received top notch medical care from true compassionate and professional caregivers. Something Chuck and Edie wanted to do in their final wishes was to give back to the facility that had looked after them so well when they needed it.

The Peddlin’ Prof Raises Funds for ICU

By Celebrate!, News, Thank You!
Dr. Trevor Cradduck is Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Medicine having been a Medical Physicist in Nuclear Medicine, and finished his career at Western University in London, Ontario. However, to us he’s known as the “Peddlin’ Prof.”
In 2016, Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto initiated the Great Cycle Challenge to Fight Kid’s Cancer. Cyclists set their own challenges in terms of distance to ride throughout the month and a goal of money to raise. Dr. Cradduck joined this venture in 2018 and has ridden each year, keeping himself fit and raising money for a good cause. He has since redirected his funding to the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation, and we couldn’t be more grateful! Funds raised will support the purchase of all the state-of-the-art critical care medical equipment in the new Intensive Care Unit at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.
This year, at age 86, Dr. Cradduck has set his distance goal at 500 km to be ridden over the month of August. During his first five days of riding, he put an incredible 129 km under his wheels! He feels confident he will meet the target he set himself.
To make a donation in support of the Peddlin’ Prof’s fundraiser for the ICU at NRGH, please visit and enter “Trevor’s bike ride” in the comment box. Thank you!

Thank you, Hub City Lions Club!

By Celebrate!, News, Thank You!
Thank you to Nanaimo Hub City Lions Club for their wonderful gift of $5,000 towards Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s Palliative Care Unit.
Palliative Care is such a special place in our Hospital, for our friends & family. Thank you again to Nanaimo Hub City Lions for honoring this area of our Hospital and the exceptional healthcare providers that serve our community.

Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation Funds Youth Wellness Van

By Celebrate!, News, Thank You!

Thanks to generous financial support from the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation, a mobile service for youth wellness will soon be hitting the road.

The new Youth Wellness Van will offer sexual health information, birth control, pregnancy testing, STI testing, immunizations, harm reduction, mental health and substance use supports, as well as referrals to other health providers for youth up to age 25.

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Dragon Boat Society and Save On Foods Give Big

By Celebrate!, News, Thank You!

Thank you so much to the Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival Society and Save On Foods Nanaimo for your years of partnership and this incredible gift of $25,000 towards cancer care!

The past 17 years of support have been transformational for healthcare in our region. Throughout the years this inspirational event has helped to raise over $510,000 in support of Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Read more:

In Loving Memory: Daniel Michael Joseph Ruel 1978 – 2022

By Memorial Tributes, News

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Daniel Michael Joseph Ruel.

He leaves behind his parents, Helen and Urgel, sister Maggie, a world without her big brother is hard to imagine, Grandma Gwyn (Stanley), along with many aunts, uncles and cousins from the Bowen, Ruel and Cayer family. Daniel spent a lot of time in particular with his cousin Randy Cyr (Ashley) who played a large role in his life over the years.

Daniel was born on February 20th, 1978, he grew up in Port Alberni and loved being outside from a young age and loved to play ball and hockey. He had the soul of an artist and enjoyed listening to music and playing guitar, often creating his own lyrics and songs and singing. Daniel also spent a lot of time reading books and writing, he had the most beautiful cursive and was skilled at poetry. Then there was the band “The Fringes” with Mike, Brent, Lance, Gerard and Daniel.

Daniel had a heart of gold; he loved all animals and had a track record of rescuing cats in particular. One day he and his friend Ryan were drifting in a boat down the Somass River , as they approached the Orange Bridge they heard a kitten crying. Dan clambered up the rock embankment, only to find a little kitten quite beat up and hiding in the bushes. He scooped him up, named him Django and the cat never left his side, sleeping on his stomach every night. Daniel also came to the rescue of other folks cats from time to time, with his tree climbing skills coming in handy to retrieve them from high tree tops.

Daniel was a hard worker and skilled arborist, who also had a special eye for landscaping ; his Grandma Gwyn and Aunty Jocelyn will especially miss his visits and magic touch in their gardens. His loss has left a huge space behind, not only in the lives of his family but also his friends. We want to thank everyone, especially those who stuck by his side throughout the years, you held a special place in Daniels life and for that we are grateful. We would also like to thank Dr. Herman Nell for being there for Daniel over the years. To all those who reached out to us with kind words and thoughts during this difficult time, we thank you from the bottom our of hearts. Special thanks to those who visited Daniel during his time in the hospital as well.

Thank you to the Emergency and ICU departments at the West Coast General Hospital, and the ICU and Palliative Care Departments at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The exceptional and compassionate care that Daniel received was incredible, especially during these hard times when there are so many staff shortages and everyone in hospitals working extra shifts.

In lieu of flowers, if anyone wishes to make a donation in Daniels memory, you could donate to one of your choice, or any of the following: West Coast General Hospital, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, SPCA, Moms Stop The Harm.

Canadian Tire Nanaimo – Our 2022 Golf for Life Presenting Sponsor and Wonderful Partner to our Community

By Celebrate!, Kudos, News, Thank You!
Our 2022 Golf for Life Presenting Sponsor is Canadian Tire Nanaimo, a wonderful partner to the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation and our community over the years. Canadian Tire Nanaimo has donated close to $100,000 in gifts to us for medical equipment, fundraising events, and special projects. For example, during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic they stepped up to donate dozens of 5 gallon buckets of hand sanitizer, thousands of boxes of face shields and surgical gloves to the medical team at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, local medical clinics, private doctor practices, midwife practices, First Nations medical centres, veterinary clinics, and any other establishments that provide medical care in our neighbourhoods. “I think we met every doctor in the city during that time,” said Marc Telosky, General Manager of Canadian Tire Nanaimo (pictured). “We knew supplies were scarce, so we wanted to make sure doctors and healthcare workers got first priority for the donations. We gave them whatever we could, whatever they asked for.”
David McClenahan, Owner of Canadian Tire Nanaimo, took over the business in February 2022 and was keen to grow its already healthy philanthropic efforts. “We know there’s never enough government funding available for service organizations that need it,” he said. “I believe it is my responsibility to support and reinvest in the community that supports our business. They are generous and loyal to us, and we are grateful for them.”
Canadian Tire Nanaimo has a wide range of causes in our region, focusing on the needs of their neighbours. Their primary cause is kids’ sports, providing funding through their signature charity Jumpstart, as well as providing direct funding to families for sports equipment and anything that encourages a healthy lifestyle. They also give to resource organizations that help people without housing and other marginalized individuals, schools, First Nations organizations, and of course, healthcare. Furthermore, 100% of their funding stays in the community. “I’m proud to have Nanaimo Regional General Hospital as my hospital,” said Mr. Telosky.
Last year Canadian Tire Nanaimo was the Golf Cart Sponsor of Golf for Life, the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation’s signature fundraiser. This year, they have increased their gift and stepped up into the lead sponsorship role. When asked what inspired them to make this jump, Mr. McClenahan told us: “We at Canadian Tire are happy to help this very worthy cause. The hospital takes care of us, and it’s time for us to take care of them.” We are so grateful to Canadian Tire for their support.
All proceeds from the 29th annual Golf for Life event will go toward the purchase of all of the state-of-the-art critical care medical equipment for the new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at NRGH, expected to open in late 2023. For more information about Golf for Life and how you can participate, visit