Candace Verners (left)

Give a gift that keeps on giving at Victoria General Hospital

‘Tis the season for warm blankets and healthy babes

When you think of holiday cheer, the hospital is probably not one of the first thoughts that pops into your head.

But earlier this week a group of volunteers launched the Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary’s annual Poinsettias for Patients fundraiser in the lobby of VGH.

“This is our fifth year running this fundraiser,” said Carolyn Haines, one of the organizers. “Give the gift of warmth and help this holiday season.”

The group is selling poinsettias – ranging in colour and in size from four- to 12-inch pots –  along with Christmas sleigh planters and 10-inch premium planters grown locally by Hilltop Greenhouses Ltd.

In conjunction with the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards purchasing a BiliBlanket for the neonatal intensive care and mother/babe units at VGH.

“A BiliBlanket is used when newborns are diagnosed with jaundice,” Haines said. The blanket is wrapped around newborns and provides continuous phototherapy as a fibre optic light shines from the blanket onto the skin of the baby, helping to reverse the condition. Each blanket costs about $8,000 Haines added.

In the past the group has purchased a $7,500 blanket warmer for babies, an $11,000 stretcher for the emergency department and a $7,000 treadmill for neuro rehab – all through the sale of poinsettias and holiday planters.

If you missed the volunteers at the hospital on Wednesday, Haines said orders can still be made with a credit card online at or completed order forms (with cash or cheque only) can be dropped off at the VGH gift shop. The deadline for orders is next Wednesday, Nov. 16.

“Plants can be picked up at the Strawberry Vale Community Centre on Dec. 2,” Haines noted, between noon and 6:30 p.m. But if you can’t make that, the group is also offering home delivery through Maximum Express Courier and the charge is $6 per address.

For more information on the group or the fundraiser go to

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