BC Children's Hospital Foundation

BC Children's Hospital Foundation

January 24, 2007 13:45 ET

BC Children's Hospital Foundation: Province-Wide Health Initiative to Enhance Access to Pediatric Care

Overwaitea Food Group commits $20 million to implement program

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 24, 2007) - A child and youth health-care initiative launched today is aimed at ensuring each of BC's one million children have easier access to a consistent standard of pediatric care regardless of where in BC they live.

The launch of Child Health BC follows a $20-million pledge of support from the Overwaitea Food Group to BC Children's Hospital Foundation.

"This is the largest donation ever made to Children's," said Sue Carruthers, President and CEO of BC Children's Hospital Foundation. "People in every corner of the province have been generous supporters of BC Children's Hospital for many years. The launch of Child Health BC will ensure children and families across the province will experience the benefits of this gift in their home communities."

Initiated at BC Children's Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, Child Health BC is a network of the province's health authorities, medical professionals and agencies.

"The goal of Child Health BC is to improve access to specialized pediatric care across BC," said Child Health BC Director Dr. Robert Peterson. "This network will provide easier access to care, reduce travel time and permit greater efficiency and collaboration among professionals and agencies involved in child health throughout the province."

BC Children's Hospital Foundation is raising the $50 million needed to support the implementation of Child Health BC. This donation from the Overwaitea Food Group, a longtime supporter of BC Children's Hospital, made the immediate launch of the program possible.

"We've been supporting children and families in the communities we serve for decades. During our 20-year relationship with BC Children's Hospital we have raised millions for the hospital with the help of our team members, supplier partners and customers," said Steve van der Leest, President, Overwaitea Food Group. "This $20-million commitment to Child Health BC seemed like the logical next step for us because it helps kids in their own communities - the same communities our stores are part of across BC."

Funds raised by the foundation, including the donation from the Overwaitea Food Group, will be used to meet the needs of the regional health authorities as they prepare to enhance or initiate the provision of specialized pediatric care. This will include supporting the construction or renovation of facilities, the purchase of equipment, or training and education of medical professionals in the regions. Eventually, Child Health BC will have a physical presence in health authorities across the province and a still broader reach through its programs.

"On behalf of the province of British Columbia, I would like to congratulate BC Children's Hospital, the Overwaitea Food Group, and all of the health authorities on this important initiative to improve the health of children across the province," said Minister of State for Child Care Linda Reid. "Child Health BC is facilitating the development and dissemination of province-wide standards of care for children."

Child Health BC is a collaborative network of the Provincial Health Services Authority involving all of the province's regional health authorities, including Fraser Health, Interior Health, Northern Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and Vancouver Island Health.

About the Overwaitea Food Group

Established in New Westminster, BC in 1915, the Overwaitea Food Group is a leading Western Canadian retail grocery chain. The company currently operates 106 stores under the Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea Foods, Cooper's Foods, Urban Fare, PriceSmart Foods, and Bulkley Valley Wholesale banners, and has more than 14,000 team members across BC and Alberta.

About BC Children's Hospital Foundation

BC Children's Hospital Foundation works with communities to raise funds for essentials such as medical equipment, research into childhood diseases and a range of child health education and training programs. Activities include major gift fundraising, planned giving and a variety of annual programs, such as events, radiothons and telethons. In 2005/2006, the Foundation had revenues of $40.9 million. As steward of philanthropic donations to Children's Hospital, Sunny Hill Health Centre and the Child & Family Research Institute, the Foundation issues charitable receipts and ensures donations are allocated to the areas to which donors have designated their support.

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