Surrey Memorial’s Second Coming

Surrey Memorial | BCBusiness
Thanks in part to a $5-million donation from B.C.’s favourite philanthropist, the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre created opportunities for 60 new doctors to take up residency.

The Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation’s legacy of fundraising has just added more lab space and the distinguished post of scientific chair

Today, raising $100,000 to fund construction of a hospital sounds almost quaint. But in the late 1950s, the sum seemed almost impossible. Yet that is what B.C.’s Social Credit government, headed by W. A. C. Bennett, asked Surrey residents to do before it would deliver their first community hospital. The women who formed Surrey’s first “Ladies Auxiliary” not only rose to the challenge; they personally delivered the funds to the premier in his Victoria office.

In 1992 a new organization was created to carry on the proud legacy of fundraising that keeps it squarely at the forefront of health-care innovation. To date, the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation has raised more than $60 million—funds that go directly toward equipment, research and facilities.

Guided by Jane Adams, president and CEO, the foundation continues to attract ongoing donations from high-profile philanthropists and corporations.

Jim Pattison matched the $5 million raised during a 100-day foundation campaign toward costs of a state-of-the-art Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre that now carries his name and created opportunities for 60 new doctors to take up residency. Most recently, the lobby of the highly acclaimed Critical Care Tower was named in honour of Ralph Berezan’s $2-million donation to the Building Foundations Campaign. In total, the campaign raised $20 million, funds that will be used to purchase 20 per cent of the equipment for the 150-bed tower. “The new tower will create jobs for 250 new doctors and specialists,” Adams says, adding that these jobs will include ultrasound technicians, a specialty that’s been underserviced for some time.

Although the number may appear smaller, Adams is particularly excited about the foundation’s $1.5-million project to fund a Leadership Chair in Multimodal Technology for Healthcare Innovation. A collaboration with SFU Surrey and the provincial government, the funds will help create lab space that will be headed by professor Ryan D’Arcy, a well-known expert on head injury, stroke and other brain traumas. As Surrey Memorial Hospital’s first scientific chair, D’Arcy manages brain-imaging technologies that could soon rewrite the way brain surgery is performed.

More importantly, however, Adams anticipates that this position will help attract further specialists and leaders—an investment she says is critical no matter what form it takes. “You have to invest both in human and physical capital and engage the community. When school children sell our tulip bulbs and raise $400 or $500, it gets them involved—which is an investment in the future for everyone.”