Besides bringing world-class curling to the South OKanagan — and a huge economic boost — the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts will leave a medical legacy as well.

While Canada’s top women’s curlers were in town looking for a national championship, the Sandra Schmirler Foundation arrived with a $35,000 gift for the nursery at Penticton Regional Hospital.

The donation, to be presented on Saturday during the opening weekend of the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, will fund a new neonatal infant resuscitation warmer at the Penticton Regional Hospital.

Since its inception in 2001, the Schmirler Foundation has supported neonatal programs across Canada in honour of Sandra Schmirler, the late Olympic and world curling champion who died of cancer at age 36 in March 2000.

It has donated millions of dollars to 48 different hospital newborn intensive care units, including more than $500,000 to six hospitals in BC.  The money stems from the foundation’s national telethon on TSN, this year being held on Jan. 28.

The donation was a welcome gift.

“It’s been on our capital equipment acquisition list for a period of time now,” said Maureen Spinks, nurse manager of obstetrics. “The timing of the Schmirler Foundation gift is fantastic.”

The infant resuscitation warmer supports the needs of premature and sick newborns by providing controlled heating to maintain a baby’s body temperature, while supporting breathing and oxygen delivery, and monitoring the infant’s heart rate.


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An average of 550 babies a year are born at PRH, some of them prematurely.

Ms Spinks said the PRH nursery’s current infant resuscitation unit is now more than 15 years old and definitely needs to be updated.

Carey Bornn, Executive Director of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation, noted the Sandra Schmirler Foundation funding comes while PRH is undergoing a major expansion.

“The infant warmer was not included among the new medical equipment we’re acquiring for the new hospital tower,” Mr. Bornn said. “This is a real bonus.”

The 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts will be held from Jan. 27 to Feb. 4 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

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