The University Hospitals Kingston Foundation (UHKF) and local paralympian Abi Tripp celebrated a $500,000.00 contribution from Scotiabank in support of the Kingston Health Sciences Centres (KHSC) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.
“At Scotiabank, investing in our communities has been a focus for over 185 years, and we are proud to continue that focus by investing in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Kingston General Hospital,” said Michelle Power, District Vice President of Ontario Central East Scotiabank. “We know that how we support young people today, can prepare them for tomorrow, and that’s why we want to help them thrive. Through this donation, we hope to help families gain access to resources and equipment to see their premature babies grow into healthy, contributing adults.”
“Scotiabank’s passion and commitment to helping youth because it has a long lasting commitment to the future definitely aligns with what we’re striving to do with Kingston Health Sciences,” said Troy Jones, Chief Operating Officer of KHSC as the UHKF accepted the gift in front of the NICU.
Tripp, who was raised in Kingston and trains here celebrated alongside staff this morning. Though known today for her exceptional swimming skills, national records, presence at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and recent Commonwealth Games bronze medal win, Trip started her story at the NICU.
“I don’t remember those first five and a half weeks of my life, but they still have an impact,” Tripp said to those in attendance. “For my parents, the staff at the NICU gave them the hope they needed so that they’re they knew that their baby girl was okay. I’ve enjoyed hearing their stories of my beginning at the NICU and I hold them as strong memories in my heart.”
The NICU at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) is the only high-risk obstetrical centre in southeastern Ontario, and Kingston is one of only five communities offering its type of sophisticated, innovative high-risk neonatal care. Kingston also accepts infants from across the province when their facilities are full, admitting over 400 newborns every year.
“This gift will ensure that fragile newborns and their anxious families will continue to receive highly specialized care close to home. The new unit will offer improve privacy, better amenities for families and easier access from the inpatient obstetrics unit during a particularly stressful time in the life of a young family,” noted Sue Creasy, who is the chair of the UHKF ‘ Extraordinary People Innovative Health Care’ funding campaign.
“Reflecting back, the NICU gave me the chance at life and as a result, I’ve been able to have an incredible one,” Tripp stated as part of her remarks. “Every day, I walk onto the pool deck and am joined by many other smiling faces of young Kingstonians who have been given the same chance.”
This gift is particularly timely, noted Dr. Robert Connelly, Program Medical Director of Pediatrics, noting that many in attendance were dressed in purple in honour of World Prematurity Day, which takes place this Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019.
With files from Lucas Mulder.