Three cheers for auxiliaries

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Happy birthday Prince Edward Island Association of Healthcare Auxiliaries.

Yes, today the association marks 50 years of caring and giving on Prince Edward Island. It is an important milestone for the group to say the least, and while most people don’t realize it, it is a day that ought to be important to the rest of us as well.

On May 8 of 1964, representatives from nine of the Island’s 12 hospital auxiliaries met at the old P.E.I. Hospital in Charlottetown to form the Prince Edward Island Association of Hospital Auxiliaries. They have been quietly supporting health care ever since.  

The role of such groups has for too long been overlooked and under appreciated.

The auxiliary members at Prince County Hospital, Stewart Memorial, Western Hospital, Kings County Memorial and Queen Elizabeth Hospital volunteer untold hours working to improve the care Islanders receive each and every day at hospitals and manors across the province.

It’s safe to say that most Islanders probably have no idea what role the auxiliaries play in the health care system. Considering its importance, that’s very sad.

These people work bake and clothing sales, operate gift shops, canvass in the communities they serve, organize special events and fundraisers and much more. And they do it for no other reason than civic duty and pride.

They want to help others.

They serve as a reminder that while most of us think that our tax dollars are enough to cover all the expenses of our health care, they certainly do not.

The monies raised by the members of the Prince Edward Island Association of Healthcare Auxiliaries, not unlike the likeminded and equally hardworking health-care foundations, is used to support health care programs and equipment purchases that might otherwise not be possible at our hospitals.

And while the past 50 years has certainly changed the way things are done, time has not altered their determination and drive.

So while the membership of the association gathers in Ellerslie at the Royal Canadian Legion today for their business meeting and to hear guest speaker former lieutenant governor Marion Reid, the rest of us ought to be thanking them for their efforts.

One never knows when we will need them.

And as the auxiliaries say: “Harmony, kindness, dedication, resilience, and hard work are what has made our association a success. Volunteers created the health-care system on P.E.I. and remain at its core, quietly doing important work.”

So we thank them for the effort and wish them the best for the next 50.

Organizations: PEI Hospital, Prince Edward Island Association of Hospital Auxiliaries, Prince County Hospital Western Hospital Queen Elizabeth Hospital Prince Edward Island Association of Healthcare Auxiliaries Royal Canadian Legion

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Ellerslie

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