New Chilliwack fundraising foundation launches first community health campaign

The official launch of the Chilliwack Hospital and Health Care Foundation gets underway Thursday.

The official launch of the Chilliwack Hospital and Health Care Foundation gets underway Thursday.

Mark Evered, UFV president and John Jansen, chair of the new foundation, will sign an MOU creating a formal partnership on joint initiatives when the new Health Sciences facility opens this fall at UFV’s new campus at the Canada Education Park.

The foundation will also launch it’s first community health campaign at the Thursday event, which starts at 2 p.m. at the Cheam Leisure Centre.

Speakers include Dr. Moira Stilwell, MLA for Vancouver-Langara, and parliamentary secretary to the health minister; Dr. John Hamilton, a Chilliwack physician and medical director at the Fraser Health Authority; and Coun. Chuck Stam, acting Chilliwack mayor.

Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon Mark Strahl and Chilliwack MLA John Les are sending letters of support while Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O’Mahony is sending a representative.

Telus is donating $170,000 to the foundation, and Mertin Hyundai is donating a new car for use by the foundation.

Telus spokesman Chris Gerritsen said the company donated the funds because “we’re dedicated to the advancement of health care and the communities in which we live, work and serve.”

“We live here. We work here. We want to make a difference,” he said.

The $170,000 was raised by Telus donating $100 for every new Optik customer who approved the contribution.

“It’s a testament to the success and popularity of Optik, but also the desire of people in the community to do their part to help,” Gerritsen said.

Also at the public event, Ascend Fitness Coaching will demonstrate its Baby Stroller Boot Camp — an interactive mother-child fitness plan — and Illusions Rhythmic Coaching will perform gymnastics set to music.

Donna Dixson, the CHHCF’s community relations director, said the foundation is taking “a markedly different approach” to fundraising, shifting the focus “from health care to care of health, care of one another, care of community.”

“Funds raised by CHHCF will be used to inspire, educate, and facilitate community engagement and collaboration to ensure that everyone in the community has whatever they need to have the opportunity to be well and stay well,” she said.