Jeff Gaye

A late-season snowstorm didn’t keep a sold-out crowd of 320 people from attending the annual St. Paul Hospital Gala Saturday night.

“It’s typical foundation gala weather,” said Noreen Brousseau, president of the St. Paul and District
Hospital Foundation. “Every year we have either a blizzard or 40 below, you name it. We’ve never had a decent

But there was plenty of warmth inside the hall attendees came through to help the foundation meet its fundraising goals.

There was a shopping list of purchases to cover including a centrifuge for the lab, which will deliver results to a doctor in two or three minutes as opposed to 10 or 15. 

The foundation will also be able to purchase a Holter heart monitor; a special air mattress for patients suffering from bedsores;  a recumbent bike and parallel bars for the cardiac physio unit; and a new fetal heart monitor.

“We had bought one last year for downstairs in emergency and the one upstairs in delivery quit, so the new one had to go upstairs,” Brousseau said.

The big item on the list is a new operating room tower. The hospital currently has one tower, and it has to be sanitized after every use. With a second unit ready to go, surgeons can go from one procedure to another without waiting. This will improve efficiency in the operating room.

“So yeah, it’s only $113,000 we needed to raise,” Brousseau said with a laugh. “We don’t have final numbers but we are very, very close. So all of the equipment that’s been requested will be purchased for sure.”

She said she is grateful to the people and business of St. Paul for supporting the effort. “They’ve got a huge heart. We had 112 silent auction items—hardly a business in this community said no. You know, we’re a farming community and it’s not been a particularly good year for anybody. And they were still open. We were sold out, 320 people. Just awesome,” she said.

The gala is a huge undertaking for a committee of seven people. Who benefits?

“Our patients number one, the people of our community, because we can stay here,” Brousseau said.

“Our community can stay home, and you heal better when you’re home. And then our doctors and our health care people, because they can provide for their patients. 

“We’re so overwhelmed by the generosity and the kindness of our community. They’re just so good to all of us. And they make our jobs easy.”

Gladys Boisvert (centre), the St. Paul Hospital Ladies’ Auxiliary Vice-Chair, presents a cheque for $10,000  to Noreen Brousseau (left), Hospital Foundation chair; and Michelle Blanchette, Ste.-Therese Hospital site manager.   COURTESY GLADYS AND PAUL BOISVERT