A group of Muskoka cottagers known as the Friends on the Muskoka Lakes have offered to match donations up to $250,000 in support of the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation, according to an announcement from the foundation’s Executive Director Colin Miller.
The Friends on the Muskoka Lakes is made up of over 20 families that wish to remain anonymous, and while members have donated to the foundation before, this is the first donation from the group as a whole. They hope it will encourage seasonal and permanent residents alike to think about the importance of the hospital to the Muskoka region, according to the announcement. The matched donations will help cover the hospital’s pandemic-related expenses by request of the group, Miller said, addressing costs such as 12 acute care beds that were purchased at $15,000 each to prepare for a possible surge of COVID-19 patients. Additional funding from the matched donations will go toward other hospital needs such as equipment costs.
“Although Muskoka may not be our full-time home, it is our home, nonetheless,” a spokesperson for the group said in the announcement. “We view South Muskoka Memorial Hospital as our hospital and feel a responsibility to support it.”
The emergency department at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital sees about 22,000 visits annually with nearly 25 per cent of those visits happening in July and August, according to the foundation. Six out of 10 patients that go to the emergency department require additional testing, including x-rays, other imaging modalities and lab work.
“The generosity of donors such as the Friends on the Muskoka Lakes is critically important to maintaining South Muskoka Memorial Hospital’s standing as a world-class health provider,” Miller said in the announcement. “We hope other Muskoka residents will be inspired to join the Friends on the Muskoka Lakes in this gift-matching opportunity and support the hospital’s critical work during this unprecedented time.”
To make a donation as part of the initiative, contact the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation at 705-645-4404 ext. 3193, or donate online on the foundation’s website.