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Hub Staff

Brian Longmire of 98 the Beach joined Saugeen Shores Council on Monday, November 23 to deliver a delegation on behalf of the Saugeen Memorial Hospital Foundation (SMHF). Longmire noted that the SMHF is the hospital’s only source of funding for equipment required to care for patients and meet the health care needs of the community. Like many organizations that rely on community support, the SMHF has suffered a loss in funds as a result of the pandemic.

“The Foundation had to cancel the hugely successful Gran Fondo in 2020, which of course would have raised somewhere in the neighbourhood of $200,000," said Longmire. “That is money lost to the Foundation,” he said.

Some events, such as Rotary Huron Shore Run's Beat COVID-19 Challenge, have adapted their events to adhere to pandemic protocols, while others whose proceeds would traditionally go in support of SMHF have been cancelled entirely.

“To say 2020 has been a challenging year for fundraising, well that’s a huge understatement,” said Longmire.

The hospital foundation is currently in the midst of their annual Light the Way campaign to raise money for a new x-ray imaging machine, the cost of which is estimated at just over $500,000. The new machine will help with more than just bone breaks and fractures, explained Longmire, as internal infections, tumours, and calcifications are also detectable. Another advantage of the new machine is its portability, allowing it to be used throughout the hospital including in the Emergency Department.

“Here’s a fun fact,” announced Longmire. “Did you know that our current imaging machine is available for service 24/7 and the department sees approximately 11,000 visitors per year," he asked. The existing machine is 15 years old and in need of an upgrade.

The fifth annual Radiothon, hosted by 98 the Beach, is set to go ahead despite the pandemic, and will take place December 10 from 6am to 6pm, albeit with a few tweaks.

"It’s not safe to have people attending live to deliver donations or coming in to speak like on the air with our announcers," said Longmire, adding that this year will lack the "usual crowds" and "party atmosphere".

Longmire, who asked councillors to mark the date on their calendar, tell their friends and acquaintances and call in and donate, said this year they'll be making most of today's technology and will have a "text-to-donate" number.

Councillor Myette pressed Longmire for a fundraising target, noting the last year’s Radiothon raised over $80,000. Longmire was hesitant to put out a concrete figure but said, "Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could pull together $100,000 this year towards that x-ray machine."

“I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if you hit that target Brian, in fact I have every confidence that you probably will,” predicted Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau, who issued a challenge to the rest of council to match or beat his donation during the December 10 Radiothon.