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Spiritual Health Care at NRGH

By News

Incorporating spiritual care within healthcare, whether by health professionals or community visitors, has long been integral. Professional spiritual health care at NRGH commenced in the mid-1990s, initially with Chaplains coordinating religious visitors and providing spiritual and religious care. The program evolved to include Spiritual Health Practitioners in 2013, aligning with the BC Framework for Spiritual Health.

We spoke with one of the two Spiritual Health Practitioners, Marysia Riverin, to gain insight into this vital role for patients in our region.

Spiritual Health Practitioners support patients and families through emotional, existential, and spiritual distress.

“Our aim is to assist patients and families with spiritual or existential needs and concerns. We facilitate exploration of what imbues their lives with meaning and purpose, drawing from their beliefs, cultural backgrounds, values, traditions, and practices,” Marysia explained.

Addressing spiritual needs can significantly benefit patients and families, leading to:

  • An increased ability to find meaning amid illness, injury, and trauma
  • Enhanced capacity to cope with pain and discomfort
  • Improved overall well-being
  • Reduced feelings of anxiety, loneliness, fear, depression, and anger
  • Greater acceptance of end-of-life and a palliative approach to care, with a clearer understanding of their values

The facilities, largely funded by donor dollars—including the new ICU and the future High Acuity Unit (HAU), as well as NRGH’s ‘Gathering Space’ provided by the hospital Auxiliary—offer the necessary space for the specific emotional and spiritual support each patient and family member requires.

“In sharp contrast to the old ICU, where conversations and consultations had to take place in cramped quarters or in open public spaces, the new ICU significantly improves how health professionals can fulfill their roles and support loved ones in their spiritual, emotional, mental, and relational needs. We are more than just our physical selves, and this project enhances the overall well-being of those we serve. Thank you!” Marysia expressed her gratitude.

To learn more about the role of a Spiritual Health Practitioner during hospital care, simply ask your nurse, doctor, or social worker, or visit the Spiritual Health page at

Thank you, Marysia, for sharing the crucial work your team performs!

Windsor Plywood Foundation Makes Largest Gift in Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation’s History

By News

NANAIMO, BC – February 13, 2024. The Windsor Plywood Foundation has strengthened their commitment to improving healthcare for Central and North Island residents with a record $3 million gift for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s (NRGH) new Critical Care expansion.

In 2020 the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation (NDHF) undertook its largest fundraising campaign to date to replace the eight bed ICU, rated the worst in Canada. The Windsor Plywood Foundation gifted $1 million towards that campaign, leading the way for the community to come together and exceed 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 the first phase of the $60.1 million capital project completed, the Foundation initiated the second phase of $5 million in fundraising for the equipment required to complete the Critical Care expansion: the High Acuity Unit, which has an anticipated open date of fall 2025.

The Windsor Plywood Foundation announced an addition $2 million transformational gift to Critical Care in this region this winter.

“This donation is particularly meaningful to the Windsor family as it helps honor 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.  The people of Nanaimo and its surrounding regions have been a large part of Windsor’s success over the last 50 years, and we are delighted to be able to contribute to this important and much needed Critical Care addition” shared Cathy Brown, Executive Director with Windsor Plywood Foundation.

Windsor Plywood Founders Randle and Frances Jones have a long history of giving back to the communities where they lived and conducted their business. They made their first personal donation to NDHF in 1990, and since 2009 the Windsor Plywood Foundation has donated in support of NRGH every year, supporting areas such as Renal Care, the Emergency Department, Surgical, Medical Imaging, and Cardiac Care.

“The impact and legacy of Randle, Fran, their children and the entire Windsor Plywood Family is precedent setting,” shared Dr. Kenyon, Senior Intensivist at NRGH. “The ICU is the heart of our hospital, enhancing staff morale and clinical skills and helping to drive the evolution and acquisition of essential healthcare services desperately needed to improve standard of care in our region and outcomes of residents living in North and Central Island.”

“Like Randle, we believe this gift will inspire others to give where they live for immeasurable and lasting impact today and for years to follow. Randle led by incredible example and through his generosity has made Vancouver Island a better place to live,” shared Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation Chair Tony Harris.

To support Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and healthcare in the Central and North Island region donations can be made at or by phone at 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:


About Windsor Plywood Foundation

The Windsor Plywood Foundation was created by the founding owners of Windsor Plywood – Fran and Randle Jones. As Windsor Plywood grew over the past 50 years from its humble beginnings, it generously gives to a variety of causes that support the communities in which Windsor Plywood lives and does business in.

Learn more:


Media Contact:
Andrea Bava
778-908-1764 |

Thrive Family Health Opens

By News


Thrive Family Health Opens with Support of $30,000 Forgivable Loan from Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation

NANAIMO, BC – January 23, 2024 –A forgivable loan and grant program has been created to support and encourage the growth of family practice offices in Central and North Island.

Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation (NDHF) has partnered with The Nanaimo Division of Family Practice to offer $30,000 forgivable loans to help fund new family practice operations in the mid-island region.

Barney Ellis-Perry, CEO of NDFH and Beccy Robson, Executive Director or Nanaimo Division of Family Practice attended Thrive Family Health’s opening ceremony and ribbon cutting last week. Thrive Family Health is the first recipient family practice to receive the $30,000 forgivable loan to support the opening of their new facility located in North Nanaimo.

“Without this grant program combined with the Longitudinal Family Physician Payment Model rolled out last year this clinic would not have been possible,” shared Thrive Family Health co-lead Physician Dr Shirin Madjzoub. Dr Madjzoub alongside Dr Diana Ruffell opened the clinic with the mission to “Work with Families to Live Healthy Lives So They and the Community Can Thrive”.

“We need more family practice offices in Nanaimo and the greater Central and North Island communities, and seeing this grant program in practice is an exciting step for us as we aim to support family doctors and remove barriers to help open more practices to meet the growing demand our community has,” shared Beccy Robson, Executive Director or Nanaimo Division of Family Practice.

Thrive Family Health used the $30,000 forgivable loan to fund an examination table, autoclave machine as well as other equipment critical to providing full spectrum family medicine services for the community.

For more information on the forgivable loan and grant programs physicians are encouraged to contact the Nanaimo Division of Family Practice team here.

If you need a primary care provider, you can register for the Health Connect Registry. The Health Connect Registry is working with clinics in Nanaimo and the surrounding area to connect people with a family doctor or nurse practitioner.  You can also register your family members or a person in your care.

2023 Winter Campaign Results

By Events, Media Release, News


NANAIMO, BC – January 22, 2024 – Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation (NDHF) is proud to announce the results of its Winter Giving Campaign, achieving a remarkable milestone with over 1,800 generous donors contributing a total of $1,841,935, making this the largest Winter Giving Campaign in the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation’s history.

The Winter Giving Campaign served as a powerful reminder to residents that “Your hospital is there when you need it most. Today, your hospital needs you.” The campaign results underscore
how the community understood the current need for healthcare in Central and North Island and answered that call in record-breaking numbers.

The donations will provide urgently needed equipment at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH), Oceanside Health Centre, and our region’s three long term care facilities, Dufferin Place,
Trillium Lodge and Eagle Park Health Care Facility.

“This phenomenal show of support from our incredible donors, means we can fund equipment on the priority list that the government can’t and take some of the strain off our healthcare workers that are doing their absolute best,” shared NDHF CEO Barney Ellis-Perry.

The list of some of the greatest needed equipment includes:

  • Medical equipment in the new High Acuity Unit.
  • Contributing to the new x-ray suites at the Oceanside Health Centre.
  • Support for the three long-term care facilities in Central Island.
  • Many items on the long list of urgently needed medical equipment throughout NRGH.

“The need is great, so we don’t want to waste any time, we are starting the allocation process immediately. 2024 is full of opportunity and it beckons us all to step up, we have 12 months to
continue making an impact. I’m committed to doing this, and with your continued support we will make incredible progress for healthcare in our community,” said Ellis-Perry.

Entering 2024 Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation has a strategic plan that calls for the Foundation to play a more active role in advocating and allocating funds for better healthcare
delivery for residents North of the Malahat. The list of priorities includes securing commitment of a Cath Lab and eventually a new Patient Tower at NRGH; prioritizing the growing needs of
Oceanside Health Centre and our long-term care facilities; and a new focus on areas of passion for the community including Cancer Care, Mental Health, and Cardiac Care.

“To the over 1,800 donors, every person who donated a gift in kind, contributed to our toy drive, or showed up to help us Light the Trees, we want to thank each and every one of you for showing up for your hospital when it needed you the most. And our immense gratitude to Rocky, Deryck and Austen who shared their personal stories through this campaign and inspired us all.”

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 |

In Loving Memory: Rick Buecking (1942-2023)

By Memorial Tributes

Farewell to a Travel Industry Luminary

With the passing of Rick Buecking on November 23, 2023, his family, his friends and business contacts from the travel industry have lost a remarkable person who impacted the lives of countless people, leaving behind a legacy of kindness, generosity and commitment to excellence.

Before founding his TLC Travel Leisure Consultants in 1982, Rick’s professional career started in the ‘70s with 12 years of honing inherent business, sales and marketing skills with CPAir, Philippine Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines. Along the way, he developed relationships with hundreds of contacts including travel agents, hoteliers, suppliers and leaders of professional sports associations, of which many were cultivated into lasting friendships.

During the early ’80’s Rick’s business was booming with contracts to represent foreign tourist boards in Canada who looked to Rick to promote their destinations and offerings to Canadian travel professionals. They included the tourism bodies of Thailand, Macao, the Cook Islands, Fiji and Hawaii. Rick excelled at organizing annual national travel industry road shows, his “Sunsational South Pacific”, Hawaii and Fiji roadshows to name a few, all designed to educate travel professionals.

As a natural addition to the representation side of TLC, Rick promoted many hotels and resorts to his ever-growing network of Canadian travel professionals. This entailed the leading of frequent familiarization trips, an activity he thrived in conducting personally. Some of the most memorable included the Phoenician Scottsdale, Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia, the Crown Beach Resort and Spa in Rarotonga, the Watermark in Osoyoos and The Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island.

Rick was an active member of the Vancouver SKAL Club, a worldwide organization of travel professionals. Serving as its President for 1999 and 2000 showcases his leadership and dedication to the industry.

With a passion for sports, football and golf, Rick led many travel industry golf tours and created the very popular and successful Mexico Golf Classic.

Rick was a devoted husband to Ronda, a loving father to Richelle (Spencer) and Thomas, and a cherished brother to Peter and Tom. He leaves behind numerous nieces, nephews, and many friends who will forever hold him in their hearts. Rick’s loyalty, compassion, generosity, and unwavering optimism touched the lives of all those around him. He leaves behind a legacy of love, laughter, and unforgettable moments. May his legacy continue to inspire and resonate with those who were touched by his presence. Rest in Peace, Rick.

Rick was frequently admitted to the Nanaimo Heart Function Clinic during the last two years as he fought with all the complications affecting his heart. In true Rick style, he took an interest in all the staff and knew them all by name. They in turn developed a special bond with Rick.The Heart Function Clinic is a team of Physicians, Nurses, Nursing Unit Assistants and other healthcare professionals who provide education, assessment, support and medical management for people living with heart failure in our community. Their goal is to improve survival and quality of life for people living with Heart Failure by working with them as part of the care team.

It was Rick and Ronda’s wish that in lieu of flowers, your generous donations would be made to these wonderful care people at the Nanaimo Heart Function Clinic.


A celebration of life for Rick will be held, Tuesday, January 9, 2024, from 11 am to 2 pm, at Speeds Pub in Delta BC.

2023 Winter Campaign Launch

By Events, Media Release, News


Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation (NDHF) is urging Central and North Islanders to support their local Healthcare facilities that are there for all of us when we need them the most.

The Winter Giving campaign is underway with a goal of raising 1 million dollars that will help fund the purchase of new and outdated equipment urgently needed to meet central island healthcare demands at facilities including Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH) and Oceanside Health Centre.

This year’s campaign includes faces of local islanders who share how their local hospital and the healthcare providers have been there for them through the many stages of life. These faces and stories include a Salt Spring Island mom needing urgent care when going into premature labour, a nine-time surgical patient and retired Oceanside business owner not wanting to slow down his global retirement travel, a former Nanaimo School District teacher and dedicated philanthropist, and NRGH’s own healthcare workers.

Videos and stories from our local spokes-patients sharing the needs of the Foundation this giving season can be viewed here.

“We can’t think of a better way to showcase the incredible need of our hospitals than to share these real examples from everyday islanders like you and me,” shared Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation CEO Barney Perry-Ellis. “Every day our medical professionals are providing the very best care to real people, and today we are asking everyone North of Malahat to support the urgent equipment needs at NRGH and Oceanside Health Centre.”

The community is invited as NRGH lights up for the holiday season with the annual Light the Trees event on December 1, 2023. Presented by Wenner, this family friendly event includes a visit from Santa, live holiday music, toy drive to ensure every child in the hospital this holiday season has a gift to open, as well as a drive through donation station supported by the live on location team at The Wave 102.3. The event is free of charge and kicks off at 4:30pm with lights illuminated at 5pm.

In addition to the winter campaign, the Foundation is building on the success of our inaugural Giving Tuesday campaign in 2022.  This year’s Giving Tuesday campaign returns Tuesday, November 28th. Donations will be used to fund critical care patient beds for the future High Acuity Unit at NRGH, each with a price tag of $50,000. Thanks to a generous donor, every contribution will be matched to a maximum of $100,000, doubling the giving potential with the goal to fund four HAU beds this Giving Tuesday.

“As our region grows, the need of the hospital grows with it, and the need has never been greater. We know our community always shows up when we need them most, so together we will reach our fundraising goal to support the medical needs of our community,” shares Ellis-Perry. Donations can be made online at

Giving Tuesday 2023

By Events, Media Release, News, Thank You!


Giving was top of mind for everyone this past Tuesday, and that was shown most generously for the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation (NDHF). Through community and corporate support, the Foundation was able to more than double the Giving Tuesday goal of $100,000 with a total single day total of donations raised of $243,157.

By the midpoint of Giving Tuesday individual donations had grown totals of just over $65,500. That evening corporate donors joined Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation staff for an appreciation event where corporate donations were presented, and the goal was significantly surpassed.

Corporate donations included significant gifts from the Nanaimo Port Authority, Re/Max Realtor Shannon Gorgichuk, Nanaimo Community Theater Group, Nanaimo Airport Commission, Royal Canadian Legion – Seaview Centennial #257, and the Nanaimo Community Foundation with a $50,000 final donation of the evening.

“From individual donations of every denomination to the incredible support of our corporate partners and community friends, we were able to fund urgently needed critical care beds for our future High Acuity Unit. Beds, that as everyone who has waited in an ER recently knows will instantly make an impact for our hospital and healthcare workers, shared NDFH CEO Barney Ellis-Perry

The initial goal of Giving Tuesday was to raise enough money to fund 4 patient beds. With the totals received it will provide 5 beds for the future High Acuity Unit.

Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation Board Chair Tony Harris spoke at the Giving Tuesday event, recounting his own experiences with his children being born at NRGH and the support he received when his family needed it most. “Nothing is more important than supporting healthcare right now,” shared Harris.

The Winter Giving campaign for NDHF is underway with a goal of raising 1 million dollars that will help fund the purchase of new and outdated equipment urgently needed to meet central island healthcare demands at facilities including Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH) and Oceanside Health Centre.

“As our region grows, the need of the hospital grows with it, and the need has never been greater. We know our community always shows up when we need them most, so together we will reach our fundraising goal to support the medical needs of our community,” shares Ellis-Perry. Donations can be made online at

A Donation to Brighten the Pain Clinic 

By Congratulations!, Kudos, News, Staff

A Donation to Brighten the Pain Clinic 

The Nanaimo District Hospital Foundation had the opportunity to chat with Dustin Lahaise, Clinical Nurse Lead and Neuromodulation Coordinator at Island Health. Dustin oversees a multidisciplinary team focused on treating patients with chronic pain through a variety of methods. The department is dynamic and diverse, collaborating with multiple departments within the hospital to provide patients with the best possible care. By taking a holistic approach to chronic pain management, this team helps patients regain control of their lives and alleviate their pain.

As November 5-11 is National Pain Awareness week in Canada, we thought it was fitting to have a chat with Dustin about his department and bring awareness to the importance of chronic pain and its impact on the one in five Canadians who live with it.

This past year, the foundation provided art and reclining chairs for the department, and this is just one way the foundation is doing its part in improving the lives of those who suffer with chronic pain.

Learn more about the Pain Program at NRGH and its impact on the Central Vancouver Island community through the conversation with Dustin Lahaise below:

NDHF: Can you share your role and the work your department does at the NRGH?
DUSTIN: My role is the Clinical Nurse Lead and Neuromodulation Coordinator. I run the day-to-day operations of our program which includes a diverse chronic pain focused multidisciplinary team.

That team is positioned around our interventional fluoroscopy suite where our 2 Pain Specialist Physicians perform fluoroscopic guided spine interventions to treat chronic pain refractory to conservative self-management. We also have three nurses that keep the flow of our interventional suite seeing on average about twenty procedures per day and another twenty consults for new patients seeking care of their chronic pain conditions.

For the patients that we can’t treat with a spine intervention, we focus on the best evidence to manage their care through self-management education from our Rehab colleagues. We also have a pharmacist who assists with medication management, and collaborate with two Physiatrists to manage complex pain cases.

A large part of chronic pain is unmanaged anxiety, stress, anger and poor sleep. Our program takes a holistic approach of mind and body to help patients alleviate chronic pain and regain control of their lives.

NDHF: To bring awareness to the readers, can you describe where the Pain Program is located at NRGH?
DUSTIN: The Pain Program is located on the second floor of NRGH, next to the UBC Family Practice Office and Sim Lab.

NDHF: What kind of people and pain-related issues does your team support within the community?
DUSTIN: Mainly chronic back and neck pain, but we also see a myriad of chronic pain conditioners including complex regional pain syndrome. We also collaborate with the Workers Compensation Board and Department of National Defence.

NDHF: Can you tell us about how the art and furniture donation has benefitted the department and your patients?
DUSTIN:  Our patients are susceptible to depression, anxiety, frustration and have been struggling with their pain for quite some time. The artwork that the foundation provided our patients acts as a distraction and promotes a healing atmosphere where patients can feel at ease. The art is also of local landscapes around BC and becomes a conversation starter amongst the staff and patients.

NDHF: Are there any other items or campaigns for the department that you are fundraising for?
DUSTIN: Our consult rooms and rehab areas are in desperate need of modernization. We are also in need of about $500,000 to renovate a second Fluoroscopy suite. Our catchment encompasses north and west of Duncan all the way up to Cape Scott, so as our population grows, we will need to adapt and grow our program.

Thank you, Dustin and the team, at the Pain Program at NRGH including the nurses, specialists, physicians and front office staff for all the hard work you do for our community. We hope to continue to provide fundraising opportunities to better the Pain Program for those in need.




In Loving Memory: John Alan Xavier

By Memorial Tributes

It is with deep sadness that we announce John Alan Xavier, of Nanaimo, British Columbia, passed away peacefully on Saturday June 10th, 2023 at the age of 79. In his final days, he took great comfort being surrounded by his partner Luzviminda, his children, his former spouse Merlon, his loving sister Colleen and his godson Alan.

John was born on June 26th, 1943 to Frank and Helen Xavier in Karachi, Pakistan. After obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree, John went on to earn his Masters Degree in Finance. Passionate about Finance, John spent his entire career working for various banking institutions around the world including Pakistan, United Kingdom, Canada, Yemen and finally Dubai, where he retired after many years of dedicated service. John wanted the best for his family and strived for that his entire life.

After retirement, John enjoyed life in Nanaimo, British Columbia with his partner Luzviminda, and visiting Ontario often to spend time with his children and grandchildren.

John was predeceased by his parents, Frank and Helen. He is survived by his partner Luzviminda, his former spouse Merlon whom they shared 4 wonderful children; Helen, Valery (Jamie), Michelle, Mark, 6 precious grandchildren; Alexandria, Nikolas, Emma, Brooklyn, Isabella and Abigail, his sisters Colleen & Sharon, his step-brother Jules, his nephews: Carey, Alan, Rodney, Sean, Jessie, Wayne (predeceased), their families, Luzviminda’s daughters; Jacqueline, Marjorie, Joseluz and Joevimin, many cousins and relatives. He will be greatly missed by all his family and friends.

Cremation has taken place with a Celebration of Life to follow at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation. A special thank you to the kind and compassionate staff on the 5th floor at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, who took such gracious and dignified care of John in his last days and hours.

Meet Legacy Donor Cynthia Crawford

By Medical Equipment, Memorial Tributes, News, Thank You!

Cynthia Crawford is a legacy donor of the Nanaimo District Hospital Foundation. In 2016, while on a cruise, her husband Larry was experiencing shoulder pain, and the GP on board advised them to return home so Larry could receive an MRI. Once home, Larry was diagnosed with Stage 4 Prostate Cancer. His GP attempted to schedule him for an MRI at Nanaimo General Hospital however, the wait time was extensive. Faced with little options, Larry chose to pay for a private MRI.

While undergoing cancer treatment, Larry recognized medical imaging equipment was greatly needed at the Nanaimo General Hospital, and decided to leave a legacy to fund more equipment. Larry’s cancer subsided, but he suffered other medical conditions – one of them being Congestive Heart Failure. Sadly, Larry passed away in 2021.

When Larry’s will was read, Cynthia realized the medical imaging equipment had been purchased and that the new ICU that Larry had been making donations to was nearing completion.

Cynthia chose a Planned Gift as a way of funding the NDHF to acquire new equipment, improve facilities, aid medical research and education to further patient care. She wants to inspire others to give if they can as “we need to ensure the quality of the hospital in our community.”

She chose to leave her legacy to the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s Heart & Stroke Care thematic area, in hopes of supporting a future Cardiac Catheterization Lab, after reading about it in the NDHF “Vision 2030 and Beyond”. The Lab is intended to perform non-invasive procedures for cardiac patients to improve patient health outcomes.

Cynthia’s dedication to the NDHF through her donations and volunteer work is a testament of the impact one person can have on their local healthcare system.