ON Tuesday, April 15, the Golden Girls, a unique group of community-minded women within the South-Asian community, celebrated the conclusion of efforts to raise $1 million in just five years to support BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s $200-million capital campaign.
With support of many individuals and organizations in the South Asian community, the Golden Girls group managed to organize a tremendous fundraising drive to build an operating room in honour of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, in the Teck Acute Care Centre, the heart of the new BC Children’s Hospital.
Gunny Bains, Director of the Golden Girls group, thanked her team, key contributors and some gurdwara societies for the $1 million campaign. Bains also indicated the campaign would not have been successful without the support of Dr Asa Singh Johal, his wife Kashmir Kaur Johal and their daughter-in-law Manjit Johal and the contributions made by their family.
“I would not be standing here if it wasn’t for all these amazing people who dedicated their time and money,” said Bains.
Bains indicated it was important for her to spread the campaign message to include the entire South Asian community in B.C., so she travelled to several regions across the province.
“The northern communities welcomed us with open arms and it was a very heartening experience. Our community in Prince George, Penticton, Oliver, Osoyoos, Vernon and Kelowna, all contributed. They were all extremely proud to have this operating room named in honor of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, as it will serve sick kids from all over BC.”
When asked, what makes this achievement so special for the Golden Girls, Bains replied, “The Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji operating room will serve as a legacy for our community for generations to come, and we should all be proud of this achievement.”
Dr. Erik Skarsgard, Chief of Surgery, congratulated the Golden Girls group and said, “This is a remarkable achievement and the greatest gift they could ever give. The new operating rooms will be equipped to accommodate the large surgical teams and extensive use of technology required for today’s long and complex surgeries – such as heart, back and brain surgeries – on children. This will mean less waiting, less discomfort and faster recovery for children.”
Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education, brought a message of congratulations from Premier Christy Clark and the BC Government. Virk recognized the achievement as a proud moment for the community.
He said: “To see this group of mothers and grandmothers show the leadership to bring the community together and build the Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji operating room is extraordinary. I can’t express how honoured I feel to be here with remarkable women from our community who took on this impressive task to help treat children across British Columbia.”
Bains indicated the Golden Girls group will continue to host their annual Ladies Night fundraising dinner dance gala every fall. The money they raise will continue to support the Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji operating room to ensure it serves as the best operating facility with state of the art equipment and the latest technology.
The Golden Girls group was founded in 1999 in an effort to raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital and other charitable causes. In addition to the funds raised for BC Children’s Hospital, their efforts have also helped fund world disaster recovery efforts such as the 2004 Tsunami in South East Asia, and for the widows of the 9/11 police officers and firefighters in New York.
In November 2013, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation announced the conclusion of the Campaign for BC Children, the largest health-care capital campaign in the province’s history. BC Children’s Hospital Foundation received campaign donations from over 80,000 people in 270 BC communities. Site preparation for the new hospital is underway. Construction will start in the fall of 2014 with completion expected in 2018.
(Photos by Chandra Bodalia)