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Festival of Trees raises $237,000 for cancer equipment at Dr. F.H. Wigmore Hospital

Over $237,000 was raised to purchase advanced equipment for the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital that will screen for, diagnose, and treat breast cancer
The Moose Jaw Express Tree was bought by the evening's emcee Dr. Caitlyn Howe and is now installed in the women's health unit at the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital

The 2023 Festival of Trees, held at the Moose Jaw Events Centre on Oct. 21 by the Moose Jaw Health Foundation (MJHF), raised over $237,000 to purchase advanced equipment for the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital that will screen for, diagnose, and treat breast cancer.

The Festival of Trees has been an annual event for more than 30 years, raising close to $5 million to date to help make Moose Jaw's regional hospital one of the best-equipped on the prairies. With the addition of a new Philips Breast Cancer MRI Coil for Breast Cancer Detection and a Lymphatic Navigator for Breast Cancer Surgery, staff at the Dr. F.H. Wigmore have access to screening and treatment options only equalled by Regina and Saskatoon.

"We had generous donations from the community, businesses, and private individuals before the festival, leading up to it, and in the days following it," said Kelly McElree, executive director of the MJHF.

"It was a wonderful evening, touching and heartfelt all the way through. (Festival board chair) Kim Waldo did a magnificent job along with her team, she had a true vision that came to life. The meal was outstanding, and the Events Centre did a wonderful job and were helpful for the entire event.

"From my perspective, now we get to bring the MRI breast coil to enhance our MRI, and the lymphatic navigator, and one added benefit to the MRI breast coil is that, due to the generosity of our donors, it's also going to have a biopsy unit built into it, so that's an even further upgrade."

McElree said that fundraising above and beyond what was needed will mean even more critical upgrades and necessary supplies will reach the regional hospital this year, and thanked everyone who contributed.

"We ensure due diligence that all of those funds will remain at our hospital to help patients," he said. "The Festival is truly a classic Moose Jaw event that has stood the test of time. We appreciate everyone who came out, it will return next year and we can't wait, we've already started planning.

"A big thank you to everyone at the Moose Jaw Express for the wonderful pink tree. That tree is now in the Women's Health Unit of the hospital, after it was purchased by the event's emcee Dr. Caitlyn Howe. It'll bring many bright smiles for years to come."

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