To say Deltans are passionate about their hospital doesn't begin to describe their commitment to their health care facility, says the Delta Hospital Foundation's new executive director.
Veronica Carroll recently took over the helm of the fundraising organization from Teresa Cooper.
Well wishers and hospital supporters attended an open house at the Ladner facility Tuesday afternoon to thank Cooper for her seven years of hard work and wish Carroll good luck as the foundation embarks on new fundraising initiatives.
"The vision of this community and for this hospital is what really drew me here," Carroll told the Optimist.
Carroll has almost 26 years of fundraising experience, including in health care, social services and recreation services. Most recently, she was CEO of the hospital foundation at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, where about $3 million was raised from the community for a new intensive care unit.
"We've got big plans for Delta Hospital, so that's where my background and expertise really comes into play. The community has been just so warm and welcoming," Carroll said.
Last year, Fraser Health launched a planning initiative aimed at determining what services the Ladner hospital should provide as well as what physical additions would be needed. The new plan contains short-term goals over the next few years as well as long-term objectives.
The Delta Hospital Foundation shared the cost of the planning exercise, which was completed earlier this year. Fraser Health and the Ministry of Health have since signed off on the plan.
An expansion of the diagnostic imaging and the hospital's lab services were identified as top priorities.
Carroll said they hope to begin the campaign for the expansion in the next few months.
"We're just at that launching pad and I'm sure you're going to hear some fantastic stuff about what's going to happen at the hospital over the next few months," she said.
Carroll said she knows all about the bitter struggle the community endured a decade ago when major cutbacks were announced for the facility, and how the perseverance and persistence of supporters played a big role in seeing services restored and expanded.
"I know about the passion the community has for the hospital and how loyal and supportive the donors have been. As a fundraiser, that's exactly the type of environment that we really do best in. We know the community is committed and it is really very rewarding for the community to get involved as partners."
Meanwhile, Cooper is taking her talents to the Vancouver Aquarium where she has been hired as the director of annual giving.
"They have some programs in research and conservancy and marine mammal rescue that always needs a little extra funding, so that's what I'll be doing. It's a fun environment and they have very, very passionate people, just like here in Delta," she said.