Friday, April 23, 2010

Revolution

Today I found myself zipping back and forth between a fundraiser called Revolution in support of the Dartmouth General Hospital and Haitian Relief and the legislature. The atmosphere of two venues could not have been more different today. While the legislature found itself consumed with political brinksmanship between the Tories and the NDP, over at Dartmouth MacPhee Pontiac the cars had been cleared out of the showroom, and the space had been converted to a venue full of spinners (stationary cyclists) raising money to buy a new CT scanner for the Dartmouth General Hospital. I am proud that my team contributed almost $6500 to the event and placed second in overall fundraising.

But much more important than what my own team raised is why this event happened. Nubody’s founder Dean Hartman and his wife Tanya conceived of the event in 2006 not long after Tanya’s mother passed away. While the care was excellent at the Dartmouth General, they were saddened that patients were often shipped to Halifax for specialized CT scans. They decided to raise the $500,000 cost for a machine over five years. This year was the last year of that campaign. In a testament to his word, while Dean recently sold Nubody’s, he made it a condition of the purchase by Goodlife that they would honour the last year of the commitment to raise the money for the scanner. In the first year of Revolution (2006) they raised $30,000. This year’s total is over $125,000. The five year total exceeds $550,000 as well as $30,000 for the Haitian relief effort, far exceeding their goal.

Raising money for hospitals is an issue that always finds me troubled not really knowing what to think. On the one hand, I feel disappointed that government is unable to properly outfit hospitals with the needed equipment. This is not unique to the public system. Private hospitals in the US also hold fundraisers and have foundations to raise money for their needs. It seems to be part of the hospital model – both private and public. On the other hand, what I witnessed today – and what I have witnessed in so many similar fundraisers – is the strong sense of community. Hundreds of people coming together to celebrate a hospital they have taken ownership of, that they care about, that they want to make so much better. To see everyone working together so well and so closely is heart warming. Maybe bringing community together and taking ownership of their health centre is even more important than the fundraising itself.

Maybe it was the warmth of the event in Dartmouth that filtered its way to the legislature by late in the afternoon. Whatever it was, I know that even when the legislature has days that aren’t necessarily the ideal of how we’d like our political system to work, our communities are strong, and Nova Scotians of all backgrounds, political views, and occupations, are more than happy to get together and make our province stronger. It is the people who make our province. It really is.