Georgina McKelvie Makes a Donation That Will Help Save Lives

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Georgina McKelvie recently donated $80,000 to the Owen Sound Regional Hospital Foundation to help ER physicians and staff maintain their emergency medicine skills. Georgina and her husband Ray are long time Foundation donors, community boosters, and Attack hockey team supporters.  Ray is the team’s Director of Business Operations, and Georgina has been an active fan for years.

Donations like this don’t come along every day, and there are many reasons why people decide to give to their hospital. For Georgina and Ray, the idea started a few years back, when the Attack’s part owner and then GBHS Chief of Staff Dr. Bob Severs was discussing his frustration with trying to find an ER doc to fill vacant shifts.

“Ray and Georgina are big thinkers, and Ray asked me why I had to do this.” Bob explained that it is difficult to attract and retain emergency physicians and nurses in general but, in addition, the most severe and complicated medical emergencies are extremely anxiety provoking and stressful. As physicians get further out from training, the stress of dealing with these problems increases and some choose to withdraw from that area of care.   

In a conversation with Dr. Severs, Dr. Andrew Jeffrey, a GBHS Emergency specialist, proposed a strategy for coping with this dilemma. He proposed that the hospital invest in a portable, computerized, medical simulation manikin that can simulate critical care scenarios, allowing physicians and staff across the Grey-Bruce region to enhance current skills and develop new ones in a controlled environment.

“The management team of the Attack decided we would donate funds over the next few years to help the hospital purchase the system,” said Bob.  By this time, Georgina had been diagnosed with leukemia. “I told Ray that we would like to make this donation in recognition of Ray and Georgina’s many years of service to this community.”

The McKelvies had a different idea. Georgina decided to get involved and make this donation while she was still able to participate. And so sitting on the edge of her palliative care bed at the Owen Sound Hospital, she wrote a cheque for $80,000 to purchase this technology.

A breast cancer survivor for the past 16 years, diagnosed two and a half years ago with leukemia, Georgina says she’s had great care over the years at the Owen Sound Hospital, and she is thankful for the people in this area who give to so many causes. “There are a lot of generous people in Owen Sound, not just us,” said Georgina.  

Surprised and thankful for such a substantial gift, Dr. Jeffery told Georgina that “this gift will help save people’s lives.” Georgina nodded quietly, with the gracious presence of someone who has been helping others all of her life. 

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