SMILING FOR SMILE COOKIES - Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre

Smile Cookie Week raises over $9,000 for Urgent Care

Another successful Smile Cookie Week has been baked up and sent out with love.

Another successful Smile Cookie Week has been baked up and sent out with love.

The annual country wide initiative sees local Tim Horton’s restaurants raising funds for a cause of their choice. For the fourth consecutive year, Smile Cookie Week in Sylvan Lake has been in support of the Urgent Care Committee.

This year’s event saw $9,217 being raised through smile cookies which will be placed in the Urgent Care Committee’s trust and will hopefully be used to purchase equipment at a future medical facility.

John-Paul Doucette, owner of Tim Horton’s said he was thrilled with the support of the community shown during Smile Cookie Week..

“Given the current state of economy we are delighted by this year’s numbers and we appreciate all of your efforts and those of volunteers to drive smile cookie momentum for Urgent Care,” said Doucette.

Volunteers from the Urgent Care Committee and the community play a vital role in the continued success of the annual Smile Cookie Week. With a total of 29 volunteers working 18 one-hour shifts spread out through the week at strategic times Susan Samson, chair of the Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care Committee added Smile Cookie Week offers an unparalleled opportunity to speak with the community about the work they are undergoing currently.

“We get a great reach for our message through Smile Cookie Week, our volunteers are always happy to be there handing out brochures and the most important thing is seeing them there with a smile on their faces,” said Samson adding the volunteers handed out 2,100 brochures during Smile Cookie Week. “That’s an incredible reach for a committee our size.”

The strength of the support shown by volunteers and the dedication of the Urgent Care Committee during Smile Cookie week is the perfect metaphor for the urgent care cause in Sylvan Lake. Just as there is never a shortage of volunteers during this sweet week, so to has a persistent wave of unrelenting volunteerism and dedication shown towards urgent care in Sylvan Lake.

“We need to keep the public updated on what we are doing,” explained Samson. “We use these events to get the word out as to what we are currently working on and where we are headed next in a few months. We take people right back to who we are, what we’re trying to do and where we are today.”

For nearly 30 years, physicians and residents of the town have pushed to gain access to enhanced health care in Sylvan lake. Over the past six years in particular, the Urgent Care Committee has allowed the cause to gain significant traction with the ultimate goal being to provide access to medical services for non life threatening issues available seven days a week, in a facility staffed by nurses and doctors with access to lab and x-ray.

With the closest hospital to Sylvan Lake being the Red Deer Regional Hospital and doctors having to cease after hours services in Sylvan Lake due to rising concerns for both doctor and patient safety, urgent care is a forefront cause for many Lakers.

In early July of 2016, the Urgent Care Committee met with the provincial government in hopes of determining a sustainable go-forward plan for after-hours urgent health care in Sylvan Lake. Following the meeting, a task force comprised of members from Sylvan Lake, surrounding communities and Alberta Health Services was created.

The task force was given 90 days to present its recommended solution to provide after hours health care in Sylvan Lake. On September 30 the task force will put forward a finalized plan to Alberta Health in hopes of seeing a facility opened in Sylvan Lake to offer extended medical access to the town.

Samson said she is looking forward to seeing what comes from the submission of plan.

“We are all hoping for good news,” said Samson adding the last 90 days have been filled full of much hard work.

The task force met weekly beginning in July with two subsidiary meetings between the urgent care committee also being held in which the entire Urgent Care Committee met to review the work done so far. In addition, physicians of Sylvan Lake also met on two seperate occasions to discuss the plan.

“Alberta Health Services brought in a team of experts who worked very, very closely with the committee, Town of Sylvan Lake and local physicians to compile a detailed report to be handed in on or before Sept. 30 and it will outline what we think is the solution for Sylvan Lake to provide enhanced health care,” explained Samson. “Smile Cookie Week has been a great way to get information out at a truly opportune time. The residents and our community partners are aware of what we are doing but everyone is pretty well in the dark as to what our possible next steps are so Smile Cookie Week was successful in more ways than one.”

Samson added the task force’s plan is in place with details costed out. The report will go to Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services. Samson added the plan will be reviewed and assuming everything is in place, the report will then be sent on to Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman.

She added she wished to thank Alberta Health Services for being so wonderful to work with and again thanked the many volunteers who helped out during Smile Cookie Week.

Editor@sylvanlakenews.com

 

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