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Greater Victoria firefighters donate funds to help sick kids

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Firefighters from across Greater Victoria made a special trip to Victoria General Hospital on Thursday, putting smiles on the faces of sick children with a drive-by in their engines, and donating $25,000 to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation in support of pediatric care.

“We need donations like this in order to provide the equipment,” said Emma Carrick, the manager of Victoria General Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. “We’ve got the staff, we've got the skill, but we need to have the equipment in order to be able to provide that safe care for patients,” said Carrick.

It’s care that eight-month-old Romy Handy received when she was born just before Christmas. Her mother, Greer Handy, said Romy needed five hours of surgery the day after she was born, but is thriving now.

“The staff here just made everything a lot easier. It was kind of, you know, an unbearable thing to go through that they made possible,” said Greer.

This is the twelfth year that professional firefighters in the region have made the contribution – amounting to a total of $300,000 in donations so far -- that have bought equipment including ventilators and cardiac ultrasound systems for kids. This year’s donation is being used to buy a labour and delivery bed for the operating room.

“There’s not a lot of ICU care for children in the province,” said Carrick. “We take children from all over the Island, and we also take overflow from B.C. Children’s when they’re full.”

Thursday’s donation was personal for one of the firefighters and his family. Taylor and Chelsey Britton’s son, Hayes, was born prematurely. He spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit at VGH.

“Just a very scary time and just feeling very supported by the staff [who] are amazing and just knowing that they have the life-saving equipment if they need it,” said Chelsey Thursday.

It’s that life-saving equipment that allows Victoria General Hospital to operate one of only two pediatric ICU's in B.C., allowing newborns, young children and their families to get the critical care they need, without the extra stress of having to leave Vancouver Island.

  

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