SUMMERSIDE – Lynden Ellis returns each year to the Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots fundraiser to help the Prince County Hospital Foundation’s Vital Signs Appeal.
This year was no different. The Tyne Valley man didn't let rain and blustery winds associated with hurricane Dorian dampen his spirits at Credit Union Place in Summerside Saturday evening. Thanks to Islanders, the 2019 edition of the event raised $847,388.10 in cash and future pledges, surpassing the goal for medical equipment.
“If the staff at the Prince County Hospital (PCH) in Summerside hadn’t taken care of me, I know I wouldn’t be alive and standing here today,” Ellis said.
In 2017, Ellis was rushed into PCH for an emergency operation on his leg.
“I have diabetes and it was an infection in my leg that we didn’t catch in time. It was my fault because I left it too long, but you have to take diabetes seriously. I went to the doctor on Friday to check on my diabetes, and then on Monday thought I was getting the flu,” said Ellis.
The blister had flared into a major infection that spanned to his knee.
“I was in the hospital for 21 days. The nurses, doctors, health care workers, everyone there at the hospital just rallied around me. The time went quickly because I was never alone too long, and it felt like being surrounded by family and friends. They just made me feel safe.”
Ellis said that PCH saved his leg – and his life.
“My leg is fine now, but I still have a scar all the way up,” he said while flipping through graphic images on his phone.
Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots is the largest annual fundraising event held for the PCH Foundation.
What began as an idea for a dinner 11 years ago by Summerside businessman Warren Ellis, has expanded to include a live auction, guest speakers and entertainment. The event has grown from a fundraiser in concept, to a community gathering not to be missed.
“As a board, we needed to raise money for the PCH Foundation because there are yearly requirements, with an average of $2 million, so we came up with this idea (Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots) as a possible way to generate some revenue,” said Ellis, the founder.
“It shows the commitment and support of the community when you get a hurricane warning and people travel all the way from Tignish and Charlottetown and beyond to be here. Everyone is very excited to be contributing to the Prince County Hospital,” he continued.
“For me, this is a very important event because our hospital is an integral part of our community and I’m elated that the crowd has turned out.”
A large portion of this year's funds are dedicated to replacing all of the cardiac monitors at PCH.
The replacement of the cardiac monitors at PCH is at the “heart” of the campaign as these devices touch nearly every person admitted to PCH. The cardiac monitors represent $420,000.00 of the $2,214,700.00 needed to provide up-to-date medical equipment for the patients at PCH this year.
The complete list of priority medical equipment needed to keep “care close to home” can be found at pchcare.com.
Organizers said that despite the pounding rain and hurricane-force winds outside the facility, Saturday evening's event was another success, thanks in large part to the many volunteers, patrons, staff and the Ellis family, all of whom braved the storm to be there.