Christopher Society gives $200K boost to PRH CT campaign

Directors of the Penticton Christopher Society, also representing the Knights of Columbus Council 3127 membership, (from left) Gene Lukey, Dennis Ebner, Rene Barone, Gerry O’Brien, Frank Kanz and Jim Calvert present $200,000 to the SOS Medical Foundation’s fundraising campaign for a second CT at PRH

The fundraising campaign for a second CT scanner at Penticton Regional Hospital has gained a major boost from the Christopher Society of Penticton.

The Christopher Society, affiliated with the Knights of Columbus (Council 3127) and St. Ann’s Catholic Church, has donated $200,000 to the South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Medical Foundation. The new CT will be located near the PRH Emergency Department, now undergoing a major upgrade during Phase 2 of the PRH expansion project.

The society was formed in the 1960s to oversee construction of a new hall – the Christopher Centre – near Skaha Lake Road and Green Avenue.

Christopher Society spokesman Dennis Ebner said at first the centre was a major source of revenue – hosting bingos, weddings and other events. However, by the late 1990s bookings started to drop and the property was eventually sold.  Interest funds generated from the building’s sale were then directed to a number of local charities.

Over the past 20 years, the Christopher Society has donated more than $550,000 to various causes in the community. This includes a 2017 gift of $50,000 to the SOS Medical Foundation’s campaign to provide medical equipment for the hospital’s new David Kampe Tower which opened in April 2019.

Ebner said Christopher Society directors decided at their recent annual general meeting to donate a large chunk of the remaining proceeds to PRH and provide a lasting legacy for the community.

“We all need services at the hospital from time to time. It just felt like the right thing to do,” he said. “The foundation provides some greatly needed medical equipment including the new CT.”

Peter Steele, chair of the SOS Medical Foundation board, applauded the Christopher Society for providing such a generous gift.

“The support PRH continues to receive from the entire South Okanagan community never ceases to amaze us.  It’s incredibly gratifying,” Steele said.

The Christopher Society’s donation reduces the amount remaining to be raised in the SOS Medical Foundation’s $3-million CT campaign to about $600,000.

The second CT will help reduce the heavy demand on the existing machine, which currently operates from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on-call overnight. The CT project includes the cost of major renovations required, with the scanner to be operational by the time the Emergency Department upgrade is completed in early 2022.