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Four decades of giving patients their best

September 16, 2020

Richelle Belzerowski, Executive Director, Friends of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, Kim Storey, Senior Operating Officer at the hospital and Tracy Reberger, Acute Care Manager, stand next to one of the isolation carts purchased in 2018 by the Friends. The carts store the personal protective equipment staff require on their rounds.

Richelle Belzerowski, Executive Director, Friends of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, Kim Storey, Senior Operating Officer at the hospital and Tracy Reberger, Acute Care Manager, stand next to one of the isolation carts purchased in 2018 by the Friends. The carts store the personal protective equipment staff require on their rounds.

Friends of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre celebrate milestone

Story by Amelia Schofield | Photo by Yolanda Genu

This month marks 40 years that the Friends of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre (RDRHC) have supported the facility to the tune of around $10 million raised to date toward patient comfort and care.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate our 40th anniversary. This is an important milestone, and speaks to the commitment and dedication of our staff, volunteers and board members,” says Richelle Belzerowski, executive director of the Friends.

Since 1980, the group has focused its efforts on fundraising for equipment, supplies and services to enhance care for patients and families.

Over the years, their contributions have ranged from purchasing televisions and tablets for patients to enjoy, comfort items for moms and dads suffering the loss of a child, and enhancements such as new hospital furniture, blanket warmers, blood pressure monitors and more.

“We’re so thankful to the Friends of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre for their long-time support of our hospital,” says Kimberly Storey, Senior Operating Officer, RDRHC.

“Their contributions over the past four decades, along with those of the groups before them, have had a tremendous impact on the care we provide our patients. We couldn’t be more grateful for their support, and look forward to our continued partnership for years to come.”

Tracy Reberger, Acute Care Manager for the Palliative Care and Oncology unit at RDRHC, has worked at the hospital for more than 25 years and has witnessed first-hand the difference these contributions make for patients.

According to Reberger, the Friends have supported the purchase of several pieces of equipment for her unit over the years. More recently, their donations funded new over-bed tables for each patient, specially-designed mattresses to prevent pressure wounds as well as bedside baskets to provide nurses with easy access to pulse oximeters, thermometers and blood monitors.

“Our patients are some of the sickest in the hospital, and are often facing the scariest time of their lives,” says Reberger.

“The contributions from the Friends help us provide them with the most comfortable stay we can, and go a long way to lifting the spirits of our patients.”

The Friends currently has more than 120 active volunteers who raise funds predominately through a gift and flower shop, and two cafes on-site at the hospital. They also participate in charitable gaming and hosting events like their recent Friends of the RDRHC Charity Garage Sale.

“We also want to thank the community for their ongoing support of the Friends. Our heart and soul is invested in improving the experience of patients, and supporting our hospital’s staff. It’s with their contributions that we’re able to fulfill that mission each and every day,” says Belzerowski.

The Friends’ roots reach all the way back to 1904 at the Red Deer Memorial Hospital, where they were then known as the Hospital Women’s Aid, truly a visionary group for its time. Later, their name changed to the Women’s Auxiliary to the Red Deer General Hospital, before eventually becoming the Friends of the RDRHC.

For more information on the Friends of the RDRHC and how to get involved, visit friendsoftherdrh.com or call Richelle Belzerowski at 403-343-4520.