THOUSANDS of people donned red, black and white last Friday to support the Southland Charity Hospital (SCH) Buy a Brick Day.
More than 200 schools, businesses and groups got involved in fundraising efforts, such as buying a supporter’s brick.
Not only people but businesses were dressed in the colours of the Blair Vining Sports Foundation, hanging red, black and white balloons, while AB Lime even wrapped a building in the colours.
Donovan Primary School teacher Johanna Jamieson said its 435 children raised about $1000.
The aim was to reach $400, so they were “stoked” to have raised so much.
In order to begin building the hospital, which would provide access to healthcare such as colonoscopies to those living in Southland and Otago who would otherwise be unable to access treatment through the private or public systems, about $500,000 needed to be raised to add to the $500,000 already collected.
Last Friday, members of the hospital board received the keys to the former Clifton Club Inn, which was donated by the ILT and would be repurposed as the hospital.
SCH board chairman Dr Murray Pfeiffer said the hospital would make a difference, but Friday was just the start of its journey.
“As a practising clinician, every day we see examples of people who need care but can’t get access to it… these will be our patients, and we can’t wait to get started to provide care to this large sector of the community.”
Cancer care advocate Blair Vining’s wife and SCH board trustee Melissa Vining said it was an emotional day.
She and her daughter had visited schools and businesses to see the “phenomenal support”.
“The $1 million is just the amount we need to commence the renovation… it gives us the confidence to know we can continue to raise the right amount of money to build the hospital.”
An SCH spokeswoman said on Tuesday more than 7000 bricks and 280 plaques had been sold, and just under $595,000 had been raised through the Buy A Brick campaign. She noted the total build cost was $4.5 million.
It was hoped the process would begin in September, with the hospital opened by Christmas next year.
Helen Robinson had been hired as the hospital general manager ence in managing not-for-profit organisations and care facilities, she said the two went well together.