Medigas name now part of Belleville General Hospital
A long-time supporter of Belleville General Hospital will now have its name associated with the hospital for many years to come.
Staff and supporters commemorated the opening of the Medigas Celebrity Classic Pulmonary Function Test Room Thursday afternoon in recognition of decades of support from the local golf event.
Celebrating its 30th year this July, the Medigas Tournament, first known as the Rick Meagher Tournament, has raised $2.7 million for a variety of causes focussed on helping children with special needs in the community.To that end, it has donated more than $200,000 to BGH, including most recently $75,000 to the Quinte Children’s Treatment Centre, a $300,000 outdoor therapy playground being built just outside the facilities at BGH.
“It’s not possible to quantify the amount of good Medigas and the Medigas Celebrity Classic have done over the years, you just couldn’t put a figure on it,” Drew Brown, executive director of the Belleville General Hospital Foundation said after the ceremony.
“Hundreds if not thousands of people have received and continue to receive better health care because of the contributions made by Medigas and the Medigas Charity Classic.”
The Pulmonary Function Test Room is provides pulmonary function testing, basically measuring how well or poorly a person’s lungs are functioning.
Derk Damron, manager of rehabilitation, therapy, echo and stroke program, said the Quinte region has one of the highest rates of respiratory diseases and the test room, which was updated in 2013, tests about 3,000 people annually.
“With the upgrade in 2013, this is a state of the art system,” he said. “The standard of care we can provide is on par with any teaching hospital in Ontario.”
Jack Miller, a member of the celebrity classic board, noted that back when the golf tournament started 30 years ago – it raised $13,500 that first year for physically challenged children – Medigas owner Randy McFarland was involved.
“I have never met a gentleman who does so much good and wants to stay in the background so badly,” Miller said.
The Medigas Celebrity Class now raises about $150,000 a year and was recently recognized by Medigas’ parent company, Praxair Inc., as one of three top fundraising events with the company, world-wide.
McFarland said the company is honoured by the recognition of Medigas and the golf classic and proud to be associated with the hospital.
“We have had a long standing relationship with Quinte Health Care and it is an honour to have our name there,” Medigas owner Randy McFarland said. It’s something in future years others are going to see what we have done in the community.
“The biggest part is if we don’t get the support of our local referral sources -- physicians – Medigas cannot do this. If it wasn’t for the support of that group we would not be doing what we have done for 30 years.”
This year’s tournament, on July 15, will be the last under the current organization and format, McFarland said. This year’s fundraising goal is a lofty $300,000 which would put the total raised by the event to $3 million.
“We have had a good 30 year run,” McFarland said. “We still sell out every year so it’s not a lack of support, we just felt after 30 years….
“With the Belleville Senators coming into town, maybe something can be done with them. Maybe behind the scenes Medigas will be involved again, but not to the level we are today.”
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