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Stanton's little helper

Herb Mathisen
Northern News Services
Published Friday, November 28 2008

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Employees of the Diavik diamond mine donated the money that would have paid for their Christmas party to purchase some new equipment for the hospital.

A donation of $39,500 was made to the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation last Friday afternoon to buy three pieces of medical equipment.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Kim Truter, left, president of Diavik, and Linda Bussey, right, executive director of the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation, shake hands days after employees of the Diavik Diamond Mine chose to forego a Christmas party and donate the $39,500 that would have paid for it to buy three pieces of equipment for the Stanton Territorial Hospital. - Herb Mathisen/NNSL photo

"This comes from the employees of Diavik," said Linda Bussey, executive director of the foundation. "Instead of Diavik putting in money to have a Christmas party, they decided to give the money to Stanton."

Pat McCloskey, director of community and corporate affairs with the diamond mine, said employees chose Stanton Territorial Hospital to benefit all Northerners.

"The employees and company made the decision this Christmas that rather than having our annual Christmas parties for the adults and children, we would rather make a donation to a worthy cause in the community," he said.

"Hence, we chose the Stanton foundation."

Diavik traditionally has a large company Christmas party held in Yellowknife.

McCloskey said while planning the function, it was difficult to accommodate all the different employee work schedules. Some work two weeks in camp and two weeks out, or four weeks in and three weeks out, and many Diavik employees live in NWT communities outside of Yellowknife.

For these reasons, employees reached a consensus that donating something long-lasting and beneficial to all residents of the NWT was the best thing to do, said McCloskey.

Diavik president Kim Truter said he has heard back from many workers saying "well done."

The donation purchased two pieces of equipment outright an automated ESR analyzer used as a screening test to monitor inflammatory or cancerous diseases, and a bench-top centrifuge used in the lab to analyze blood samples and helped purchase an argon-plasma coagulator, which is used to control bleeding.

The equipment will reduce wait times for patients and increase staff and equipment capacity. McCloskey said the Christmas donation is something the company may carry on in the future.

"We've got fantastic feedback from our employees and the hospital," he said. "I suspect the people in the Northwest Territories who would have a need for this equipment would be very pleased as well."

The Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation is a non-governmental organization that raises money for the hospital to buy medical equipment.

In its 10 years of existence, the organization has purchased a CAT scan, bone densitometers and other equipment that required patients to travel south for treatment.

"Our goal is to buy small pieces of equipment and big pieces of equipment to get the services done here in the North," said Bussey.