Special to Asian Journal by Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation
Jas Cheema, Sikh Academy’s Baldeep S. Hehar and Hakam S. Dhindsa, Jane Adams, SMHF President & CEO, and Pavan Bahia SMHF at summer’s sneak preview event.
WHEN Surrey Memorial Hospital’s new Emergency Department (ER) opens this Tuesday, the community will have a brand-new facility designed to meet the needs of the city and region.
Many members of the South Asian community will feel a special sense of pride when they walk through the new entrance. To mark the community’s contribution to Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation’s fundraising campaign, the main ER entrance is named in honour of the Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Foundation President and CEO Jane Adams explains that the South Asian community has always been supportive of the hospital, but this reached new heights when the provincial government promised Fraser Health funding for the new ER and Critical Care Tower.
When the foundation launched a fundraising campaign to help purchase 20 per cent of the lifesaving equipment for the project, the community rallied to help. “There was a groundswell of positive energy and support for the project even before the announcement that the ER entrance would be named after the Guru Nanak Dev Ji.”
Adams says that the concept of a significantly larger Emergency with its own separate pediatric area for kids and families really resonated with the community: “The idea of the radiothon and the collective will to support the improvement and expansion of services came from the community, not from the foundation. We supported and followed where they led.”
Inside the new Emergency Department
The community pulled together. When the RedFM radiothons urged listeners and sponsors to give to the hospital, thousands either phoned in or arrived at the station with cash and cheques. In total, the radiothons brought in more than $2 million for lifesaving equipment. Adams notes that this does not include the contributions from South Asian families and companies that gave directly to the foundation. Through RedFM’s efforts, the South Asian community has also raised money for the hospital’s Mata Tripta Family Birthing Unit.
In all, more than 11,000 donors from Surrey, the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver contributed to the ER campaign, including the Surrey Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, the Surrey Firefighters’ Charitable Society and EllisDon.
Why is the South Asian community so generous?
“Many members of our community in following the teachings of our Gurus have a strong belief in Seva, says former foundation board member Jas Cheema, who was part of the Emergency fundraising campaign.
Inside the new Emergency Department
“Through volunteering their time and resources the South Asian community has invested in the state-of-the art health services, the benefits of which will be borne by all who walk through those doors. This is a proud moment for our community, one that will be remembered for generations to come, and I’m honored and thankful to have been a part of this iconic project.”
The new ER marks the completion of Phase 1 of the redevelopment of Surrey Memorial Hospital. The government of British Columbia has committed $492 million, with an intended contribution of $20 million coming from the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation and Child Health BC.
Five times larger than the old one, the new ER is organized into specific areas to provide patient- and family-centred care. In all, there are more than 100 private treatment rooms. The adult emergency has separate zones that include three Acute Care Zones with a Trauma Room, and a Mental Health and Substance Use Zone. The new ER also has its own Satellite Medical Imaging Unit. The separate Pediatric ER is child-friendly and has specially trained staff.
The Guru Nanak Emergency Services Entrance will be unveiled on Saturday (September 28) during a special celebration at Surrey Memorial Hospital. This event is now full, but RedFM will be providing live coverage starting at 11 a.m.
On behalf of the ER team, Adams and Cheema send their thanks to all the donors and volunteers who helped make the fundraising campaign a success. If you would like to find out more about the foundation or become involved in fundraising, please call 604-588-3371 or visit www.smhfoundation.com.