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Summerside woman’s superheroes descend at Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots fundraiser; event raises $1.2M

Karen and Allan MacLean, from Summerside, attend the Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots fundraiser at the Credit Union Place on Saturday evening.
Karen and Allan MacLean, from Summerside, attend the Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots fundraiser at the Credit Union Place on Saturday evening.

A Summerside woman has a second chance at life thanks to Prince County Hospital (PCH).

And thanks to events like Saturday’s Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots PCH Foundation fundraiser, which raised $1,212,694.30 for the Summerside hospital’s medical equipment fund, it’s likely others in the future will share a similar outcome.

Karen MacLean and her family were among their superheroes Saturday at the ninth edition of the fundraiser at Credit Union Place.

“It was a lot of tough days, and I still continue as an outpatient, but I feel much better,” admitted MacLean, who suffered from a respiratory arrest in 2015. “My safety and cleanliness were priorities at the hospital, and I don’t think any other place could have been as excellent.”

Her husband, Allan, who remained by her side day and night for more than four months, had nothing but praise for the PCH staff. 

“The day my wife went into respiratory arrest, I was up in the cafeteria having my lunch when I heard the Code Blue called to her room, so I rushed right down and I walked in. The doctors and nurses were working on her. She actually turned blue.”

He continued with a tear in his eye, “I couldn’t handle it and I fainted and fell flat on my face in the hospital room. Then they brought me around, but for me that was a very emotional day. All I could think about was how they rallied around my wife and me, and how things turned out for the better.” 

MacLean treasures every second of the day.

The Credit Union Place in Summerside was packed for the annual Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots fundraiser Saturday night.

“Thank God for her and the moments we spend together,” he said. 


Successful Fundraiser

Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots is the largest fundraising event –that’s grown into a community gathering –held for the Prince County Hospital Foundation. All proceeds from the event go to ensure there is appropriate medical equipment available to treat patients from across the Island.

Patrick McSweeney, the president of Prince County Hospital Foundation, says the money raised makes a world of difference. 

“Our goal for 2017 was $2.5 million, our largest in our history,” said McSweeney. “$1.4 million of this amount will be used for three new operating rooms, so Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots is a big part of our annual fundraising, and it’s been going on since 2009.”

More than 1,500 tickets were sold for the event. 

“It’s all thanks to Warren Ellis and his family,” added McSweeney. “We’re very grateful for them and everything they have done for us.”

Ellis, the founder and presenter of Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots, says Prince County Hospital gave him a second chance at life. 

“On May 21, 1972, I was in a near-fatal car accident and spent a long time recovering in hospital. They mean a lot to me. And it was excellent treatment.”

A Healing Garden, maintained by the Summerside Area and Garden Club, will blossom in the centre of the Prince County Hospital. The garden is dedicated to the Ellis family. 

“I love flowers and trees and nature, so when they donated this garden to my family, as well as all the patients, it was so precious,” commented Ellis. “This is a show of community support, and it is very much appreciated.”


Community Support

Heather Matheson, the managing director of PCH Foundation, remarked, “When Warren Ellis brought this to the board in 2008, we thought it sounded like an event that could do well, but might be modest in size. We never could have imagined the kind of results we are seeing today or the groundswell of support it can muster.”

Robert Irving, the co-chief executive officer of J.D. Irving Limited, presented a donation of $250,000 to the PCH Foundation Saturday. 

“We are very happy to support the hospital. It touches many people, especially all our employees and growers here on P.E.I. Trying to have the best health care, in terms of facilities and care is very important and if we can help that cause then we are glad,” he said.

Although Irving resides in Moncton with his wife, Jill, he is highly involved in the community. And he is an active fundraiser and champion for community health and development. 

Claude and Claudette Landry of Canadian Tire in Summerside also made a significant donation of $150,000.

“I grew up in Miscouche, so for me it’s coming back to my home town and Prince County Hospital has always been there for all the people in the community, so I think it’s very important to support them and give back.” 

McSweeney is grateful for all the generous donations to the PCH Foundation.

“I want to thank everyone that came today because without the support of the whole community we cannot put on events like this and we cannot meet our goal. We thank the Ellis family, and we thank all the people who support the hospital,” he concluded. 

Over the course of nine years, this event has raised $5,387,629. 

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