Islanders stepped up to the plate once again, raising $532,496 for the 22nd annual Queen Elizabeth Hospital/Eastlink Telethon, which aired over the weekend.
Ed Lawlor, vice-chairman of the QEH Foundation, said the charity shown to the foundation by the community is “fabulous”.
“I think P.E.I. could be so proud that in that short period of time we can raise over $500,000 and recognize the importance of it for the foundation and for health equipment in P.E.I.”
Funds raised this year will be used to purchase equipment for the QEH provincial lab, stroke care, operating rooms and mental health initiatives, as well as other areas of the hospital.
The main piece of equipment committed to be purchased with the telethon donations is a mass spectrometer for the provincial lab, said foundation CEO Tracy Comeau.
“It will test for illegal substances, narcotics, opioids, which currently have to go off-Island, and it’s a seven-day turnaround for top priority tests,” Comeau explained following the telethon. “So, we will be able to do those at 100 per cent accuracy testing (at) the QEH.”
This means, if someone comes in with an overdose, it could mean immediate treatment, Lawlor said.
“We’re treating emergency patients that come in and maybe they may have some drugs in their system, there’s a chance of detecting that right off the bat and getting appropriate treatment for them.”
With opioids making it into the news of late, including fentanyl-laced cocaine that’s been found on the Island, this $430,000 piece of equipment is coming at a good time, Comeau added.
“Time matters in those situations, so the fact that we don’t have that available to us on P.E.I. right now, that’s big, and we just think Islanders are behind that, to say we want that available.”
The next piece of equipment committed for purchase is a urology laser, which is being funded with the remaining telethon money, as well as money raised during the annual Friends for Life campaign, Comeau said.
“The urology laser breaks down kidney stones which are excruciatingly painful, and they break them down so they can easily pass, so it’s really so you don’t have to do invasive surgery.”
During the show, viewers were introduced to some patients of the QEH, including Harrison Maye, a young boy who has undergone cancer treatment, Maxine MacLennan, a well-known musician who recently required emergency care and rehabilitation, and Sheldon O’Meara, a man who has dealt with health issues since childhood and considers the QEH a second home.
Anyone who still wishes to support the hospital can do so by contacting the QEH Foundation office at 902-894-2425, or donating online at qehfoundation.pe.ca