Donation gets hospital initial ten percent of needed funds
By Sean Roney
King City Rustler, June 9, 2010
Mee Memorial Hospital is closer to getting a new mammography machine after a big donation from the Young Farmer Foundation.
Last Wednesday the King City Young Farmer Foundation presented the Mee Memorial Hospital Foundation a check for $30,000. The purpose of the donation was to help fund the purchase of a new mammography machine for exclusive use by Mee Memorial Hospital.
King City Young Farmer Foundation CEO Bob Martin said the money came from the March 20 fundraiser for the family of Gavin Ribera a young child who was diagnosed with cancer.
“We were able to raise over $100,000 for the family,” said Martin. “We didn’t have a set amount for the mammography machine, but we decided to set aside $30,000 for this. The plan is hopefully to have another major fundraiser next year, to strictly raise funds for this.”
“When the opportunity came up to help Ribera, we decided to split the fundraising between him and the hospital mammography department,” said Young Famers President Frank Lopez. He explained the first idea was to do a strictly hospital fundraiser. “Hopefully we’ll be able to do this again and help out from there.”
In regards to the town pitching in to help raise money for both causes, Martin said, “We found out that the community always kicks in. King City’s a great community. If you can have a fundraiser for something that’s local, it’s going to be a grandstand. When it comes to helping somebody local or for a local cause, King City stands out.”
“It’s an upgrade from analog equipment to digital, so it’s a whole new generation of mammography equipment,” said Mee Memorial CEO Lex Smith. “It saves on the cost of the film alone. The image quality and the cost of the film are significant improvements.”
When asked about the machine, Mee Memorial staffer Debbie Pierce said, “It will be a new machine to us. We’re looking at refurbished machines, which are about $300,000. New machines are about $500,000. There really is no difference in between them.”
Pierce explained the step up in technology by saying, “Digital images are a lot easier to manipulate than analog images.
You can see a lot more information, and we can instantly send a digital image out to another hospital, specialist or surgeon without having to wait for film.”
When asked how the machine will eventually be purchased, Smith said Mee Memorial Hospital will look into grants as well as looking to fundraisers.
“At $300,000, it will take several different sources to pay for, but we’re ten percent of the way already.”
Mee Memorial Hospital Foundation President Ron Childers and Vice President Ed Kleber were present to accept the check.
“I want to thank the Young Farmers and the community,” said Childers. “I’ve only been here eight months. I have been amazed at what these guys and the community do when they pull together to do something.”
“The Young Farmers are happy to help,” said Lopez. “Hopefully we can do something more next year. Something as big or bigger.”
“Without the contribution of fundraising and groups like the Young Farmers, there’s no way the hospital would be able to purchase it,” said Smith of the large cost of the mammography machine.
Childers explained that one upcoming fundraiser the Mee Foundation will hold is a gold tournament in October.
Explaining the different foundations’ involvement, Smith said, “The funds go to the Mee Memorial Hospital Foundation, and then other funds for this purpose will also go to the foundation until the pool of money is such that they can acquire the piece of equipment, and then it would be a donation from the Foundation.”
Martin announced that a few weeks ago Ribera went through his last chemo treatment.
“They just got the results back from the CAT scan a few days ago and he’s cancer free,” he said. “It was a long haul for them. It was tough.”
Pierce noted Mee Memorial currently performs about 150 to 200 breast examinations per month.
“It’s a large need,” she said. “The fact that other areas have digital and we don’t is kind of hurting us right now.”