Vital People: Victoria Hospitals Foundation hoping to raise $10 million

Within two weeks of his bladder cancer diagnosis, Lionel Polard was at Royal Jubilee Hospital to have the tumour removed using a minimally-invasive surgical scope.

A few days before a scheduled hip replacement, Lionel Polard got some shocking news.

“I got a call from my family doctor,” he says. “She said, ‘Lionel, we won’t be able to do this operation. They found cancer.’ And I almost fell out of my chair.”

The avid golfer and father of three had bladder cancer.

“I had no symptoms, it was stage 1 and the type of cancer I had I was told was very aggressive. So by the time I probably would have figured it out without them telling me, it would have maybe been too late,” Polard explains.

Within two weeks of his diagnosis, Polard was at Royal Jubilee Hospital to have the tumour removed using a minimally-invasive surgical scope.

“The first time I went in, I thought I would be there for three or four days,” Polard says. “I went in at 7 a.m. and my wife picked me up at 4 p.m., and that was a complete operation.”

The scopes are one of several critical pieces of equipment the Victoria Hospitals Foundation is fundraising for.

“So many people actually don’t know that 40 per cent of the hospital equipment is actually funded by donors, so our donors and community members play a huge role in how we support health care in our hospitals,” Victoria Hospitals Foundation CEO Avery Brohman explains.

The Victoria Hospital Foundation’s ‘Emerge Stronger’ campaign is hoping to raise $10 million dollars to purchase 200 pieces of priority equipment for Royal Jubilee, Victoria General, and Gorge Road Hospitals.

“We’re halfway there—so over 3,000 community members have helped us raise $5 million—but we have some ways to go so we’re really asking our community to think about our hospitals right now, and support the hospitals at this unprecedented time,” Brohman says.

For Polard, who will have to continue getting scopes every three months to ensure the cancer doesn’t come back, the prognosis is good.

“I’ve been through about six different scopes,” Polard says. “In fact, last Monday I had one, they went into my kidney—which was clear, everything was great—so I believe I’m coming out the other end with a big smile on my face.”

And he’s hopeful the Emerge Stronger campaign will reach its $10 million goal.

“The hospital foundation is doing so much for our local community that we all need to step up to the plate,” Polard says. “It’s imperative.”

Donations to the Emerge Stronger campaign can be made online or by contacting the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.

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