Sylvan Lake couple donates $850,000 to AACS

The donation will be put towards a new X-Ray machine for the facility

A Sylvan Lake couple has donated $850,000 to the local Advanced Ambulatory Care Service, for the purchase of new X-Ray and digital imaging equipment.

Stephen and Jacqueline Wuori gifted the large sum to the Urgent Care Committee so that the new equipment will help reduce travel for patients while also improving the speed, accuracy and efficiency of diagnosis and treatment to patients in Sylvan Lake and the surrounding area.

“We are thankful and excited to be able to help with such a critical service,” Stephen and Jacqueline Wuori say in a statement. “Urgent care is equal opportunity – any of us could need it at any time, and we are pleased to support the Urgent Care Committee and AHS in enhancing diagnostic capability in the community.”

Stephan said it was important to them to help with an organization that is “equal opportunity,” in that any one can use the facility at any time.

“Any of us at anytime could need AACS… There are areas that are for a specific group, but this will help everyone,” Stephan said.

Susan Samson, chair of the Urgent Care Committee, said she feels overwhelmed by the generosity of the Wuoris.

“I have experience with large corporate donations, but this is the largest donation I have seen from a local couple,” Samson said. “It’s a little overwhelming.”

The Urgent Care Committee has been fundraising for the AACS for roughly 10 years, first to make it a possibility for Sylvan Lake and Surrounding communities, and now to provide the doctors and staff at AACS with support.

Over the past 10 years the committee has raised roughly $350,000.

“We are so much further ahead now,” Samson said.

The new X-Ray is a complete upgrade from the normal computed radiography (CR) to digital radiography. This means the scans will all be done on one machine, verses the two pieces of equipment needed for CR X-Rays.

The use of DR X-Rays is faster and more efficient, which means the patients will not need to sit still as long.

According to a press release from Alberta Health Services, the new equipment will be beneficial to patients with scoliosis and those in need of orthopedic surgery on a knee or hip.

This also means results will be received sooner as the time to send images to a physician will be lessened.

Samson called the new equipment cutting edge technology.

“It would take us 10 years or more to raise the money for something like this,” she said.

AHS says roughly 900 X-rays are performed at the facility each month.

In talks with AHS to choose how the donation will be used, Stephan said they wanted to help accelerate growth in the facility, and to boost the work done bu the physicians and staff there.

“We had ideas in mind initially, but we really wanted [the donation] to go towards equipment the doctors could use. In our talks with AHS they helped us define that idea,” Stephan said.

The piece of equipment is top of the line with numerous additional features and safety features in place.

This is the first time AHS has purchased this particular machine. There is one other in operation in Alberta, it is used in a private clinic in Edmonton.

The donation will also be used for minor renovations to the space to allow for the new equipment.

The renovations to the facility are being done specifically to the X-Ray room. A wall will be removed to give more space to the room, which will allow for a patient to be wheeled in on a stretcher.

The work being done will only disrupt the use of X-rays in AACS, all other aspects to the facility will be operations while renos are happening. A contingency plan will be put into place to move patients to another facility if X-Rays are needed during that time.

Renovations and the installation of the new equipment is expected to begin in late September and conclude by the end of the year, AHS says.

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Devin Dreeshen commends the donation by the local couple.

“These acts of generosity by Stephen and Jacqueline are a testament to the amazing and diverse citizens across Alberta, eager to help their neighbours and strengthen the health system in their communities,” Dreeshen said in a statement.

The Urgent Care Committee is working on their next fundraiser with the owners of the Sylvan Lake Tim Horton’s, the annual Smile Cookie Campaign. The campaign will run from Sept. 14-20.

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