Hospital receives $10,000 from Sandra Schmirler Foundation

Diane Crocker
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Cathy Cunningham, left, of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, talks with Tarragh Shanahan, executive director of the Western Regional Hospital Foundation, in the pediatric unit at Western Memorial on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.

CORNER BROOK — When the Western Regional Hospital Foundation goes after funding sources, sometimes it’s successful and sometimes it’s not.

But a “cold call” to one potential source almost a year ago paid off in the form of a $10,000 donation.

The money is from the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, a charity set up to assist neonatal intensive care units across the country following the death of Schmirler, the world curling champion and Olympic medalist.

“It was just a foundation that we probably have never sent anything to, and lo and behold we got a yes,” said Tarragh Shanahan, executive director of the foundation.

“You have to send them to whoever you can. Send letters and make calls and hope for the best.”

While the maternal/newborn unit at Western Memorial Regional Hospital was part of the hospital foundation’s case for support last year, Shanahan said the “yes” on the funding didn’t come through until October, just before the radiothon for this year’s case for support.

The money will be used to purchase two Med Fusion Pumps (pain control pumps) for the maternal/newborn unit at Western Memorial.

Cathy Cunningham, an ambassador with the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, was in Corner Brook on Wednesday for the official presentation of the donation.

The St. John’s resident and competitive curler played against Schmirler for years. She described Schmirler as a “very” nice person.

“Very family oriented, especially with her kids, and fiercely competitive, but kind,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham was asked recently to represent Newfoundland and Labrador on the foundation, which left her feeling honoured and humbled. She especially enjoys seeing where the money given by the foundation goes.

She said she left a recent visit to the Janeway feeling amazed by how much things have changed in the care of moms and babies in the last 20 years and the technology available today.

“The whole progress that’s been made in neonatal care in particular really surprised me,” Cunningham said. “I thought it was remarkable.”

Organizations: Sandra Schmirler Foundation, Western Regional Hospital Foundation, Western Memorial Regional Hospital

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador

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