LCBO and CHEO team up to buy new heart lung bypass machine

Customers buying booze at the LCBO will be helping heal hearts at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario this holiday season.

From December 1st to December 31st, customers will be asked at the staff to donate money to CHEO. Donations will support the hospital's fundraising efforts to buy a new heart lung bypass machine.

"For one tenth of the bottle of wine you just purchased you can help save a child's life who needs open heart surgery and we can do that right here in Ottawa," said Dr. Gyaandeo Maharajh, a pediatric cardiac surgeon at the CHEO,

The hospital's only heart lung bypass machine is aging and needs to be replaced. The expensive machine allows surgeons like Dr. Maharajh to complete complex and risky open heart surgeries. The machine temporarily takes over the function of the heart and lungs during open heart surgeries. On average, CHEO’s cardiac team performs two to three open heart surgeries a week using the device. 

"You really couldn't do 90% of the operations if you didn't have a heart lung machine," he said. 

13-year-old Heather MacMurdo knows the worth of the machine first hand. She's been on the machine numerous times, the first of which happened when she was just nine days old. 

"It's made a big difference," MacMurdo said. "I've had to use it six times, so I feel like if we could update it, it would help a lot more kids." 

All LCBO retail locations, over 660 across the province, take part in the campaign which last year raised a record $5.6 million. 144 store locations in Eastern Ontario will donate their funds to CHEO. 

Donation boxes will be displayed at LCBO checkout counters and customer service representatives will invite shoppers to add a $2, $5 or $10 donation with their purchase.

“The incredible generosity of our customers combined with the commitment of our staff is what makes our Giving Back in our Community Campaign so significant. We are proud to have raised close to $600,000 for CHEO last year – supporting not only important funding for alcohol-related clinical study, but the purchasing of lifesaving equipment and technology,” said George Soleas, President & CEO, LCBO.