From left: Vivian Smith

$150,000 more for new Langley maternity ward

Toyotatown, Trotman Auto Group add to growing LMHF fund

Another $150,000 in donations has been added to the “It All Starts Here” campaign for the new Vandekerkhove Family Maternity Centre at Langley Memorial Hospital, thanks to the generosity of the Trotman Auto Group and Toyotatown Langley.

Trotman Auto Group has contributed $100,000 and Toyotatown $50,000. They join more than 20 other local businesses and individuals who have donated $50,000 or more to the cause, including the Vandekerkhove family, who have contributed $1 million.

“(We are) proud to give back to the community where we live and work,” said Scott Kemp, owner and general manager of Toyotatown Langley. “Many of our customers and staff have used Langley Memorial Hospital and its maternity unit at some point. We decided this would be a perfect time to give back to a facility that has supported our community for many years.”

The expansion comes at a time when population growth in Langley has far exceeded the capacity of the LMH maternity ward.

Turning away women in labour is something no staff member at Langley Memorial Hospital wants to do, but it has become a very frequent occurrence.

When the hospital first opened in 1948, 11 beds for the 85 babies born there each year was very sufficient. But today, the number of births has increased by more than 2,000 per cent to 1,800 per year. The number of beds has increased by just two. There are now 13.

The new reality is, there just isn’t enough room at LMH to accommodate the growing community. The number of yearly births is expected to continue to rise to 2,300 over the next seven years.

In response, Fraser Health has committed $6.31 million towards an $11.66 million expansion to the maternity unit at LMH. That has left the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation with the job of raising $5.35 million to fill the gap.

With construction already underway and only eight months left to fundraise, the foundation is still in need of $2 million to finish the project.

So far, support from the community has been amazing, said Kate Ludlam, senior donor relations officer for the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.

“It really has struck me in Langley that people have such pride in this community and such a strong feeling of giving back and supporting the community,” Ludlam said. “It’s really astonishing and makes me feel really good about the work that we’re doing at the Foundation — it’s really making a difference.”

The expansion will allow for seven new beds to open, which can accommodate up to 600 more births, and will see the relocation of the maternity clinic from the other end of the hospital to the new maternity ward, a new post-anesthetic recovery unit, an expanded nursery and additional on-call rooms.

“It’s been quite an exciting time for us,” Ludlam said. “It has allowed individuals and companies that have given to the Hospital Foundation in smaller ways over the years to make a significant gift, and we really are grateful for that.”

Now, the Foundation is turning to the community for help to raise the final $2 million needed.

Those interesting can visit the LMHF website, www.lmhfoundation.com, call the office at 604-534-4121, or visit them at LMH.

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