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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.




Estate-Planning Seminar

By News


Join us for a presentation by Michelle Munro, Fidelity’s Director of Tax & Retirement Research, to learn more about topics such as:

• Estate-planning considerations: Learn more about assets in multiple jurisdictions, testamentary trusts, alter ego trusts, estate freezes, as well as probate, U.S. estate tax, and digital estate planning.
• Tax-planning considerations: This presentation will give an overview of the taxation of small businesses, and how tax-efficient investments can be used in such businesses, including a review of the passive investment income measures impacting owners of private corporations.
• Tying it all together with a discussion around Charitable Donation as part of a broader Tax-Efficient and Estate Planning Strategy.

Additionally, Mike Delves, MNP Partner and Business Advisor, will be speaking about the proposed changes to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) rules for 2024. Learn more about the proposed complex changes and how they will impact clients.

Limited spaces available, RSVP to by September 29th.



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.


Island Savings Partnership

By Media Release, News, Thank You!


NANAIMO, BC – May 8, 2023 – The Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation (NDHF) and Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, are proud to announce a new collaboration to support the mental health care initiatives in the Nanaimo community and surrounding areas.

With the goal of improving the health and wellbeing of the community, Island Saving has committed $60,000 over the next three years to promote mental health awareness in the Central Island.

“Helping our communities thrive is a part of who we are, and an individual’s mental health plays a key role in that,” says Kendall Gross, President of Island Savings. “We know that this partnership helps fill a huge need in the community, and as a member-owned financial co-operative, it’s always important for us to listen to the needs of the community and offer our support accordingly.”

The partnership agreement includes events to be held in collaboration with NDHF during Mental Health Awareness Week in May, aimed at raising awareness for mental health and to support those experiencing mental health challenges. In addition, programs will be developed to support the current climate of mental health issues within Island Health and Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

“The primary focus of the funding will be the outdoor courtyard for the current psychiatric inpatient unit at NRGH.  While there is much work to be done to support patients in and out of the hospital setting, a refurbished outdoor space will help create a place of recovery, a welcoming place as a person of value in our community during some of the most challenging times,” shared Carrie Boland, Manager Acute MHSU, Island Health.

Funds will also be directed to upgrade the walk-in mental health clinic located at Brooks Landing and the Medical Detox Centre in Nanaimo’s South End.

“We are thrilled to work with a partner dedicated to being a change maker in our community. With Island Saving’s financial commitment to mental health care, it will allow us to support people beyond the walls of our hospital and to increase critical mental health programs for the entire community. We look forward to growing this partnership in the years to come,” shared Barney Ellis-Perry, Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation CEO.

Lifeline Nanaimo Volunteer Profile: Trevor Cradduck

By Lifeline Volunteer Profile, News, Thank You!

After his career as a medical physicist, seeking out an organization like Lifeline Nanaimo felt like a natural transition into retirement for Dr. Trevor Cradduc. “I found myself living in a community where several neighbours were Lifeline clients and I saw a natural fit. As an installer I found great satisfaction in aiding individuals gain greater independence.”

“The day eventually arrived when I could no longer drive so was obliged to give up installing Lifeline units. I was able, instead, to act as editor for Seniors Connections – a monthly news sheet funded by a Federal grant and distributed to a variety of community centres. With the cessation of Seniors Connections, I have been able to continue my volunteer activities by assisting Lifeline at community events such as health fairs and contributing to Lifeline’s Facebook page.”

Our volunteers are the backbone of our program and we couldn’t do all that we do without them!

For more information or to volunteer your time at Lifeline Nanaimo.


Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Week Returns

By Events, Media Release, News

100% Cookie Sales Donated to Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation

NANAIMO, BC – Smile Cookie Week is almost here, with the annual campaign taking place from – May 1 – 7. During this week, Tim Hortons chocolate chunk cookies will transform into something incredibly special: Smile Cookies – hand-decorated treats that raise money for local charities across the country.

100% of proceeds from each Smile Cookies purchased at Nanaimo Tim Horton restaurants between May 1st and 7th will be donated to Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation directed towards the High Acuity Unit and ICU projects at NRGH. Cookies are on sale during this week for $1.50 plus applicable taxes.

“We are thrilled to be the partner recipient for the 2023 Smile Cookie campaign,” shared Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation CCL (Chief Cookie Lover) Barney Ellis-Perry. “Last year’s campaign was a great success raising over $45,000 thanks to the generosity of our community members and year to date totals of $270,000 proving the old adage, good things come from those who eat cookies!”

Please join us for a special Smile Cookie kick-off event:

When: Tuesday, May 2, 2023 1:30-3:00 pm

Where: Tim Horton’s Rock City (2980 Island Hwy N Unit 200)

Who: Join NDHF Barney Ellis-Perry and NDHF Board Chair Tony Harris and other key community members as they decorate smile cookies for this year’s Smile Cookie campaign.


We have some great videos and photos to help share the word of Smile Cookie week. Please find these materials here:

Smile Cookie Video

Smile Cookie Poster

Board Member Anu Mayer Advocates for Cancer Care Advancements

Board Member Anu Mayer Advocates for Cancer Care Advancements

By News

NDHF Volunteer Anu Mayer Advocates for Cancer Care for Central Vancouver Island

Six months after joining the Hospital Foundation’s volunteer Board of Directors in 2021, Anu Mayer’s daughter Natasha was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer. Today Anu shares how the need for cancer care here in central Vancouver Island came very close to home for her family.

November 13, 2021 was a milestone day for Natasha Mayer – graduation day. She felt an area around her neck that was swollen and irritated. She had been complaining about being tired but chalked that up to a busy UVic course load and reaching the grad finish line. As the neck lump persisted Natasha visited her doctor in Nanaimo, who recommended a screening with the local cancer clinic. January was given as the earliest they would get in.

So Natasha waited, but her neck got worse. Back at school in Victoria, Anu encouraged Natasha to get it checked out again. So on December 7th Natasha went to the ER at The Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. Over the next 3 days in a whirlwind of appointments at the Jubilee, Natasha received a confirmation it was cancer, a biopsy was booked, and she had an ENT visit. Anu moved down to Victoria to support her daughter. December 15th the biopsy was performed, and Christmas Eve the diagnosis was shared – Stage Two Cancer.

Healthy and young, the doctors were very positive this was a treatable cancer for Natasha. They felt lucky.

The next 6 months Anu split her time between an Air B+B near the hospital, the Cancer Clinic, and fitting in zoom calls for her Nanaimo based business and philanthropy roles. All while navigating the challenging COVID protocols and ever-changing lockdowns.

The Cancer treatment facilities were state of the art. Mom and daughter passed the hours talking and playing crib in the chemo rooms with blankets, reclining chairs, all to make the patients more comfortable. On May 9th Natasha rang the bell and was officially cancer free. As Anu shares, it was the best Mother’s Day gift ever.

It’s hard for Anu to not see the correlation of being asked to join the role of a board member for the Hospital Foundation and going through a medical fight in her family months later. “It has made me even more determined that we need to advocate and lead the change for our growing community,” shared Anu. “We were lucky- Natasha found another route going down the Malahat and we were able to uproot our lives to support her in Victoria for her treatment, not every family has the ability or resources to do that.”

April is Cancer Awareness Month, a month close to Anu and so many central island families. The province has promised a new cancer centre for central Vancouver Island, and as the mom of a cancer survivor and as a volunteer on the NDHF board of directors, Anu is working to hold the Province accountable. Cancer Care is one of the 6 Key Focus Areas of the Hospital Foundation to ensure the best possible outcomes for cancer patients through new cancer services and equipment.

Embracing Equity with Electrical Apprentice Alex Tungate

By International Women’s Day, News

International Women’s Day 2023 – Embracing Equity with Electrical Apprentice Alex Tungate

Role: Apprentice

Department: Electrical Contractor working on the future NRGH ICU.

Who do you primarily work with day to day?  Usually, a Foreman or another Apprentice. It changes all the time.

How long have you been in this field?  6 months

What is one (or some) of the most challenging, yet rewarding parts of being a woman in your career?
I feel more reward everyday than challenges. I love the company I work for and feel I have a lot of support from my team and from other people at the jobsite. Being the minority is something I am, and others are aware of, but as time goes on it is something I think about less often. With my specific team currently, it is comprised of mostly younger men and as 30 year old women it can sometimes be challenging to always feel connected to the team.

How do you support other women in your field?
I’ve been lucky enough to know and work with a couple female electricians and it feels great to chat about our experiences and create a positive environment!

Tell us a bit about what life looks like outside of work?
I live with my partner and our dog Sierra. We love spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, lake days, snowboarding. I also love to paint and read, socialize, and cook good food!






Embracing Equity with Safety Coordinator Lisa Corbett

By International Women’s Day, News

International Women’s Day 2023 – Embracing Equity with Safety Coordinator Lisa Corbett

Role: Safety Coordinator – Contractor working on future NRGH ICU

Department: Construction Field

Who do you primarily work with day to day?
Ensure compliance being met in all aspects of our job sites. Train and educate workers in safety practices and procedures as per Worksafe regulations while building a great culture within the safety world.

How long have you been in this field?
16 years.

What is one (or some) of the most challenging, yet rewarding parts of being a woman in your career?
Challenges were always taken seriously when I first started. As a woman in this industry, you must prove that you are just as skilled as your counterparts in the construction industry. The rewards are that I get to build very strong positive relationships with teams. I get to make sure that all parties that come onto our sites are feeling comfort in knowing that we really do care about their safety and they get to go home to their families safely at the end of the day.

How do you support other women in your field?
I ensure that they feel very welcomed on our site. I continually conduct a professional attitude but also make sure that they understand my door is always open for them if things get tough. I love to mentor the women who come to our sites so they feel confident in what they are doing and where they are working.

Embracing Equity with Project Manager Jean Phan

By International Women’s Day, News

International Women’s Day 2023 – Embracing Equity with Project Manager Jean Phan

Role: Project Manager, Strategic Initiative

Department: NRGH ICU and HAU

Who do you primarily work with day to day?
Adults in need of Critical Care support

How long have you been in the health care field?
I have been in Nursing for almost 13 years, with the past 10 years working in ICU. Since last year, I took the opportunity and became the Clinical Project Manager.

What is one of the most challenging yet rewarding parts of being a woman in your career?
As a bedside nurse, I find the most challenging thing is to balance a full-time job with two little ones at home. On top of that my husband works full time as a Respiratory Therapist, so we have two hospital shift workers in this household! In my profession, it is predominantly women with a lot of them being mothers. I receive a lot of empathy and support from them. Oh, the stories that us mothers would share!

Since I become the Clinical Project Manager, it has been a great learning curve. I must learn new terminologies and jargons (specifically construction related), to understand the process of construction, and to learn how procurement works in Island Health. Everyone has been so supportive and patient with me since I joined the team.

How do you support other women in your department/ward/field?
Our society still holds a lot of the old perceptions of women are more emotion focus and men are more technical minded. As such, women sometimes feel the need to go above and beyond just to be recognized as equal when the discussions become highly technical. I often encourage fellow women in the field to speak up when needed and provide anyone interested in the opportunity.

Tell us a bit about what you like to do on days off/spare time?
I was born and raised on Vancouver Island. My parents were one of the original refugees during the infamous Vietnam war. They immigrated to Victoria over 40 years ago. I am now married with two young boys (5 and 3). Cooking traditional Vietnamese and Cantonese cuisine are one of my favourite pastimes. It is also a great way for me to cope with stress. My boys say I make the best Chicken Pho, even better than Ong’s (grandpa).