The Island Hospital Foundation Gala, which last year brought in more than $700,000 to fund hospital programs and equipment, is officially canceled this year.
The gala, which was first set to take place in April and then postponed to October, is now pushed to April 24, 2021. It will still carry with it an Alice in Wonderland theme and will raise money for a new inpatient center focused on expanding services available to Anacortes patients, Foundation Director Jeanette Papadakis said.
Even though the gala has been delayed, the foundation staff and board have been very busy, she said. They are focusing on doing the paperwork and administration that comes with moving a huge event like the gala, which has roughly 350 guests, Papadakis said.
The foundation is also continually collecting donations for its COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. Since it put out the call in March, roughly $674,000 has been donated to help cover costs at the hospital.
Some donations have been big, but many were small amounts that added up.
“I had someone call me to the front door, and then they gave me $3 in cash,” Papadakis said.
The hospital had to shut down many nonessential services for a couple months this year and needed to buy expensive equipment to prepare for treating a possible influx of COVID-19 patients.
The money raised for the relief fund has so far supplied eight new ventilators, equipment for a tele-ICU program, cartridges for the Cepheid machine (to help with COVID-19 testing), up to three months of personal protection equipment and extra training for staff.
“This community really stepped up,” Papadakis said.
The fund continues to take donations to make sure the hospital has the equipment it needs, she said. Any money that comes in for the emergency fund now will go toward keeping people safe and keeping the hospital up-to-date, she said.
Papadakis said the donations and the low rates of infection in the Anacortes area show her that the people here really care about each other and about taking care of the health of this community.
“We still have needs, and we don’t know what lies ahead,” she said.