On July 29, 2023, John & Margaret Leonardo hosted a BBQ for their Cedar Ridge community. This year, instead of bringing food to share, John & Margaret asked their guests to make a donation to the Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) Foundation to help bring a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine to the local hospital. Collectively, guests contributed $39,125 to the event, far exceeding John & Margaret’s expectations.
“We are new members of the Penetang Lions Club, and attended a meeting where we first heard about the MRI project at GBGH,” said John. “We knew immediately that we wanted to do something to bring awareness and support for the campaign, and thought we may be able to raise about $5,000. We have such admiration for our guests and neighbours for their generosity, and are honoured to be able to celebrate a great investment in our local hospital.”
The Penetang Lions Club made a gift of $2,000 to the event, supporting their newest members. John & Margaret’s neighbours also contributed items for a small silent auction at the BBQ, offering an additional way for guests to get involved. Scott McCuaig, from Eden Tree Design, was the successful bidder of a gift certificate donated by Alex Murray of Northern Excavating & Barging, adding $4,000 to the event total.
“It is so powerful, and inspiring, when someone in our community steps up to take action, as John & Margaret did,” says Nicole Kraftscik, CEO, GBGH Foundation. “This BBQ helped to ensure their entire community knew about the MRI project, and inspired such generosity. Imagine the collective impact on our hospital if other neighbourhood groups do something similar, and come together to give back to our local hospital.”
Nearly 4,000 patients from North Simcoe travel a minimum of 80 kilometres roundtrip to get an MRI each year, and many more are unable to get this critical diagnostic testing if they are unable to travel to Barrie or Orillia. Improving access to MRI technology for all residents of North Simcoe is a top priority for the Midland hospital.
“Operationalizing an MRI at GBGH will dramatically reduce wait times across the entire region,” says Matthew Lawson, president & CEO, GBGH. “We know this is critical for our community, and so we are doing everything we can to fast-track the process, targeting the first quarter of 2025 to scan our first patient.”
The Foundation has a goal to raise $4-million over the next two years, to ensure the hospital can proceed with the purchase and installation of the MRI in 2025. As of today, $1,351,905 has been raised toward the goal. Those wanting to learn more can visit: https://gbghf.ca/current-needs/mri/