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Chelsea Carne


By Media Release, News

Donors Give Over $188,000 for Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment Equipment

NANAIMO, BC – June 27, 2024 –532 donors from across Central and North Vancouver Island came together to raise over $188,000 to fund cancer diagnostic and treatment equipment for NRGH.

The Mopec 400, more commonly referred to as a “grossing station,” is a piece of diagnostic equipment, costing $159,956, that allows pathology technicians to detect cancerous tissue more quickly and accurately, leading to quicker diagnoses and earlier treatment for cancer care in this region.

In addition to individual donors, four Save-on-Foods locations supported the Cancer Care campaign with a recently concluded point-of-sale promotion, raising $20,680 during the campaign.

Through the generosity of donors, funds were raised to purchase a second piece of cancer equipment used in reconstructive surgery for people experiencing breast cancer, in addition to the Mopec 400. Both pieces have now been approved for purchase and will be implemented this year in the cancer department at NRGH.

In April of this year, the province confirmed that Nanaimo will be the site of a Cancer Centre for Central Vancouver Island, set to open in 2027. Improvements are needed at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, the host site for the cancer center, to ensure that the full spectrum of care is available from diagnostics through to post-treatment care.

“We asked our community to help bring cancer care closer to home, and they did exactly that. Funding these two pieces of equipment is an incredible start to meet our collective goal of having comprehensive cancer care in our region,” shared NDHF CEO Barney Ellis-Perry.

The campaign has concluded, but if you would like to continue to donate in support of cancer equipment at NRGH, you can do so here, and use the drop-down menu to designate your gift to cancer care.




About Nanaimo Hospital Foundation
The Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation was founded on December 30, 1977 as a means for grateful patients and loved ones to support Island Health facilities. The Foundation procures vital equipment, patient comfort items and funds medical staff education to ensure healthcare professionals have the tools and resources they need to provide the best healthcare for the central Vancouver Island communities. For over 40 years, the Foundation has stewarded donations to expand services and reduce wait times for patients right here at home.
Learn more:

Media Contact: Andrea Bava

Temporary Office Relocation Effective June 27th

Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation Temporary Office Relocation

By News

The Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation’s main office, located at 1200 Dufferin Crescent, Nanaimo (within the Hospital lobby), will be undergoing renovations starting June 27th. During this time, our team, while working remotely, will remain fully available during regular office hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, throughout the summer to support you.

For in-person donations or inquiries, please visit us at the Hospital, Meeting Room P1021, beside the Gathering Space, or call us directly at 250-755-7690.

Thank you for your continued support of healthcare in the Central Island region!

Joanne Van Engelsdorp, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Indigenous Liaison Nurse

Highlighting the Vital Role of Indigenous Liaison Nurses at NRGH

By News

At the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH), the role of an Indigenous Liaison Nurse is not just about healthcare—it’s about bridging gaps, advocating for vulnerable patients, and ensuring that cultural sensitivities are respected and integrated into the healthcare experience. Joanne Van Engelsdorp, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Indigenous Liaison Nurse, offers invaluable insight into this essential role, which she has embraced for the past four years through her work with the Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre and Island Health’s Indigenous Health branch.

A Dedicated Advocate and Cultural Bridge
Joanne’s primary role involves acting as an advocate and liaison between the hospital and Indigenous patients, who often come from remote communities across Vancouver Island. Serving approximately 80% of the island’s Indigenous population, Joanne assists patients in accessing health benefits, coordinating discharge plans, and ensuring they receive the care they need. This can range from arranging transportation for patients returning to distant communities to providing culturally appropriate support during their hospital stay.

One of Joanne’s significant responsibilities is facilitating discharge plans, especially for patients from remote areas. For example, she explains how patients from places like Gwawae’nuxw Island face unique challenges, such as a half-hour open boat ride to get home. Joanne helps the hospital staff understand these complexities, ensuring patients are discharged safely and appropriately, whether that means arranging for a longer hospital stay or finding nearby accommodation.

Integrating Spiritual Care with Healthcare
Integrating spiritual care into healthcare is crucial for Indigenous patients, addressing their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Joanne acknowledges the challenges in providing holistic care but highlights the support from the hospital’s spiritual health practitioners.

Key Services and Emotional Support
Joanne’s services extend beyond medical advocacy; she offers emotional and mental support, connects families, and helps access non-insured health benefits. She shares poignant examples of how small gestures, like providing a cedar branch to a patient with COVID-19, can bring comfort and dignity to those who have faced trauma. Joanne also refers patients to community programs and other practitioners, ensuring they receive comprehensive support.

Challenges and Advocacy
Indigenous patients often face significant challenges within the healthcare system, including systemic racism and a lack of culturally safe care. Joanne emphasizes the importance of cultural safety training for all healthcare staff to address these issues. She advocates for mandatory training to ensure that all staff understand the historical and cultural contexts of Indigenous patients, fostering an environment of respect and dignity.

Gathering Space: A Place of Comfort and Tradition
The Gathering Space Room at NRGH has become a vital resource for Indigenous patients and their families. This space it’s meant for all people of all traditions and religions. Opened in 2020, this space allows for traditional practices, such as smudging, and provides a gathering place for families during critical moments. Joanne describes the room’s significance, from hosting large family gatherings to making end-of-life decisions in a culturally appropriate manner. It has also served as a space for healing and addressing patient care concerns, offering a platform for Indigenous voices to be heard.

Discharge Planning and Communication
Effective discharge planning is crucial, especially for patients returning to remote communities. Joanne’s experience as a home care nurse informs her approach, ensuring that patients are discharged safely and in a manner that respects their wishes and cultural context. She works closely with healthcare teams to address unique challenges, from ensuring patients have the necessary equipment to respecting their rights to live at risk if they choose.

Addressing Systemic Challenges
Joanne advocates for a trauma-informed approach to patient care, educating staff on the importance of culturally sensitive practices. By building trust and fostering understanding, Joanne works to bridge the gap between Indigenous communities and the healthcare system, ensuring that all patients receive respectful and equitable care.

Joanne Van Engelsdorp’s work as an Indigenous Liaison Nurse at NRGH exemplifies the critical role of advocacy, cultural sensitivity, and comprehensive care for Indigenous patients. Through her dedication and expertise, Joanne not only supports the health and well-being of her patients but also helps to create a more inclusive and respectful healthcare environment. Her story is a testament to the importance of integrating cultural competence into healthcare practices, ensuring that all patients receive the dignity and care they deserve.

Learn more about San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Online Training (


By News

Photo from left to right: Karen McCarthy, Tina Moreira, Mike Friesen, Barney Ellis-Perry, Janice Krall, Jane Marriott and Bryan Quaife.

As many of you know, in 2020, the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation (NDHF) launched its largest fundraising campaign to date to replace the eight-bed ICU, which was then rated the worst in Canada. Through incredible corporate and individual gifts and record-breaking annual giving programs, the community came together and exceeded the $5 million target to fund all the state-of-the-art critical care equipment required for the new ICU.

The new ICU opened in June 2023 and is routinely operating at full capacity.

With fundraising for the first phase of the critical care expansion completed, the Foundation initiated a campaign to raise the $5 million needed for the equipment required to complete the second phase of the Critical Care expansion: the High Acuity Unit. Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of our community and a transformational gift from the Windsor Plywood Foundation, we have almost achieved this goal. We are excited to share that the HAU is on track for expected completion by summer 2025, ensuring that our community has access to the highest standard of care. Together, we are transforming healthcare and enhancing the well-being of all Central and North Island residents.

In early 2024, we got our first glimpse of the High Acuity Unit, second phase of the Critical Care Expansion at NRGH.

The Windsor Plywood Foundation’s record $3 million gift for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s (NRGH) new Critical Care expansion makes an immeasurable and lasting impact on healthcare for Central and North Island residents.

The gift builds on more than 30 years of philanthropy in our community by Windsor Plywood founders Randle and Frances Jones. Cathy Brown, Executive Director of Windsor Plywood Foundation, shared, “This donation is particularly meaningful to the Windsor family as it helps honour my father, who recently passed away. Throughout his lifetime, he made it a priority to give back to the communities where his customers lived and worked… We are delighted to be able to contribute to this important and much-needed Critical Care addition.”

Read the full article: Windsor Plywood Foundation Makes Largest Gift in Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation’s History.

Tim Hortons Smile Cookie 2024


By News

2024 marked 10 years of Tim Horton’s Smile Cookie Week supporting Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation. This year Central Island residents showed up to take some sweet bites and together raised $38,442.35.

100% of these funds raised were dedicated towards a much-needed electrical upgrade in the perinatal operating room at NRGH.

“We are thrilled to be the partner recipient for the 2024 Smile Cookie campaign,” shared Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation CCL (Chief Cookie Lover) Barney Ellis-Perry. “This is our sweetest campaign of the year – pun intended – and want to thank everyone who purchased a smile cookie to help our perinatal department at NRGH.”

Soiree by the Sea, June 7th, 2024


By Celebrate!, Events, News

NANAIMO, BC – June 20, 2024 – Over 100 guests gathered at Saysutshun Island this June for a first-of-its-kind gala event organized by the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation.

Clad in nautical white and blue evening attire, guests arrived at the picturesque dock and were greeted with signature cocktails before making their way to the Pavilion for a dinner service expertly plated by Sarah and her team at Camas.

NDHF Board Chair Tony Harris joined Trina Knight, Manager of Perinatal at NRGH, to highlight the urgent need for new beds in the maternity ward, which have exceeded their 10-year lifespan, but almost double the appropriate time frame.

Each bed costs $20,000, and attendees quickly raised their hands to fund whole beds through full or partial donations. Six beds were purchased outright by Soirée attendees, and in total, over $200,000 was raised, funding nine beds with 32 gifts received throughout the evening.

A huge thank you to the sponsors of the Soirée at Sea, including Island Aggregates, Tom Harris Community Foundation, Acera Insurance, Megson FitzPatrick, and our title sponsor, VI Marine Group, Stones Boatyard & Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School. A special thanks to Linggo for providing the entertainment that had guests dancing the night away, and to Camas for the incredible dinner.

Long Term Homes

Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation Raises Funds for Seniors’ Broken Transportation

By News


NANAIMO, BC – June 11, 2024 – This Senior’s month Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation (NDHF) is asking for help to brighten the days for our senior community with a campaign that launches today and runs through Senior’s Month which is honoured this June.

A goal of $50,000 is urgently needed to be put to repairs and upgrades to Dufferin, Eagle Park, and Trillium Long Term Care Centres. For two years the bus used for outings and field trips for Dufferin LTC residents have been sidelined with repair needs.

In addition, outdoor seating furnishings and simple gardening equipment are all on the wish list for funds raised through the campaign.

“The days can be very long when you don’t have the tools like transportation readily available to go on field trips and outings, shared Danica Zaric Activities Coordinator, Dufferin Place. “Going to a pub or a restaurant, taking in a community event like music in the park just makes them feel human again. We are so grateful to be working with the team at NDHF and to this incredible community who we know will come together to make the days of LTC residents brighter,” added Zaric.

The NDHF team asked the current Long Term Care residents what would brighten their day, and here is what some of the senior’s shared:

“I love being out in nature and I used to drive up and down the Island for work. It would be great to have a way to go for a drive instead of just going places in my wheelchair”
Les, Trillium Lodge resident.

“I miss our bus! I wish I could sit by Departure Bay beach, have a burger, and just people-watch”
Shirley, Dufferin Place resident

“I like to visit with my wife outside on the patio, and it would be easier to do so with comfortable furniture”
Bob, Eagle Park resident.

“I used to garden a lot. I would like to be able to get out in the gardens more and plant”
Janine, Trillium Lodge resident.

Over 400 seniors with diverse medical and support needs call these centres home and with an aging population the demand and waitlists are incredibly long for admittance to these centres.
As Manager of Strategic Initiatives at NDHF the campaign has been stewarded by Karen McCarthy who firsthand has experienced the resource challenges currently facing Long Term Care Centres.
“My mother was a resident of a LTC, which gave me a very close window into the incredible need of our centres, and how simple daily luxuries we might take for granted are critical to making their days brighter,” shared McCarthy.

Donations made during the month of June will direct fund long term care upgrades to and transform into brighter moments for our senior community.

Donate today at or by phoning 250-755-7690.


About Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation
The Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation was founded to support Island Health facilities. Today, we are raising millions to support our region’s healthcare facilities by leading major fundraising campaigns for critical medical equipment, construction projects and programs that provide the best and highest level of healthcare to the residents in central and north Vancouver Island.
Learn more:

Media Contact:
Andrea Bava
778-908-1764 |

NDHF CEO Barney Ellis-Perry

Exciting Cancer Care Announcement

By News

NANAIMO, BC – April 16, 2024 – Today the Government announced the details of the greatly anticipated new Cancer Center for Central Vancouver Island. We are excited about the new cancer treatment center as it will enable Central Island residents access to care closer to home. The Foundation is here to support the improvement that will be needed at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital as the host site for the cancer center. We want to ensure that the full spectrum of care is available from diagnostics through to post treatment care.

Learn More:
New BC Cancer Centre in Nanaimo moves forward
Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation Aims to Bring Cancer Care Closer to Home with Foundation Campaign

Media Coverage:

Dufferin Place Awarded Celebration of Excellence

Dufferin Place Awarded Celebration of Excellence

By News

Pictured (left to right): Kathryn Houlihan, Tania Arantesdesousa, Jennifer Eskes, Emily Pridham, Allison Fontenla, Roslyn Raina, Donna Dawkin, Kate Crossland, Sam Spence.

Dufferin Place Long-Term Care Home in Nanaimo – which is operated by Island Health and supported by the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation – is celebrating a win. A Celebration of Excellence award was presented to the Care and Food Services team at a joyful event on March 7, where thanks were offered to all those who endeavored to make change happen for the residents that call Dufferin Place home.

As a long-term care home, the primary focus for those who work at Dufferin Place is the wellness of their residents. When staff recognized that meal service could be improved, they got to work brainstorming a solution.

Together, the Care and Food Services team developed a new system in which residents can now choose items off of a mobile dining-cart within the dining room. Where residents previously had plated meals delivered to them on trays, this change provides a newfound sense of autonomy at meal time. Item choice and portion size is up to residents to decide and they are free to decline anything they do not want to eat.

The shift has been a resounding success, with more residents now actively choosing to dine in the dining room. Dufferin Place staff have also perceived an increased sense of independence and social engagement amongst residents.

Congratulations to the Dufferin Place Care and Food Services teams!

Fuel Good Days! September 19

By Celebrate!, Events


NANAIMO, BC – September 12, 2023 – After the success of 2022’s event, Mid Island Co-op is again partnering with the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation (NDHF) for Fuel Good Day this September 19th,2023 across the Central Island.

Ten cents from every liter of gas pumped on Fuel Good Day will directly support enhancing critical care for residents north of the Malahat by tripling capacity for critical care.

“Mid Island Co-op is pleased to partner with the NDHF again in a committed effort to elevate tertiary care treatment for central Vancouver Island, shared Mid Island Co-op CEO Ian Anderson “We are very proud to have supported the first stage of the recently opened ICU at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and now we get to support our community further with Phase 2 of the High Acuity Unit. This year our Salt Spring and Harewood locations will be hosting a BBQ fundraiser and we will be collecting donations across all our sites. The Mid Island Co-op leadership team will also be on location at various gas bars to help wash windows, connect with the community, and raise awareness about Fuel Good Day as one of our most impactful campaigns of the year.”

This year, residents have even more opportunities to participate in Fuel Good Days and give where they live. From September 12th through September 19th Mid Island Co-op Liquor locations are donating $1.00 from every bottle of Route 19 wine and six-pack of My Island Beer to NDHF. Mid Island Co-op Liquor locations can be found here.

“We are honoured to be the recipient of Mid Island Co-op’s Fuel Good Day and it’s contributions will directly support state of the art medical equipment for the critical care spaces at NRGH serving over 450,000 Central Island Residents,” shared Barney Ellis-Perry, Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation CEO. “I personally will be out September 19th washing windows and meeting our amazing community to thank them for supporting our local health care community.”