Local developer donates $500,000 to help sustain Markdale Hospital

February 22, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

While health care is free in Canada, hospitals still have to fundraise 10 per cent of their budgets. They’re left purchasing furniture, fixtures, equipment, diagnostic machines and medical supplies through community donations.

These donations are the lifeblood of hospitals, especially in smaller, more rural communities.

A pledge to donate $500,000 over 10 years was made by Flato Developments in 2017, and 70 per cent of that money has now been received by the Markdale Hospital.

Flato distributes $50,000 per year, and the impact has been “phenomenal,” according to Darlene Lamberti, executive director of the Centre Grey Health Services Foundation.

She said new cardiac equipment in the hospital’s ER was badly needed in 2018, and Flato’s $50,000 donation that year made the purchase possible.

“That was a major need,” said Lamberti.

The following year, in 2019, Markdale Hospital used its $50,000 donation from Flato to offset the cost of purchasing a chemistry analyzer for its lab.

The health care facility conducts 300,000 lab tests, so it’s important to have the proper equipment in the community, said Lamberti.

Multiple defibrillators were purchased in 2020 through Flato’s donation that year, in addition to supplies to combat the spread of the coronavirus. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

That same year, a portion of Flato’s funds helped to support the regional hospital for patients of Markdale, which is the Owen Sound Hospital.

While Markdale Hospital provides many different types of care, because it is located in a small community, it doesn’t have the same access to resources and specialists that larger hospitals do.

Sometimes patients in Markdale are referred to the Owen Sound Hospital if they’re accessing cancer treatments, or need a cardiac unit or oncology unit.

Markdale supports that hospital to ensure it can provide proper care and patients can access services closer to home, without having to travel to a hospital in Barrie, the GTA or London, Ont.

In 2021, Markdale Hospital shifted its focus to rebuilding a brand-new facility.

During that year, and up until the fall of 2023, Flato’s $50,000 annual donation supported the bricks and mortar or new equipment for the new hospital. A community-funded campaign that raised over $6 million for the new hospital utilized Flato’s annual funds, and the facility officially opened on Sept. 23, 2023.

“The scope of FLATO’s donations are so far reaching,” Lamberti noted.

To recognize the organization’s contributions, naming rights for Mardkale Hospital’s lobby are owned by Flato and the triage room is named after Flato’s owner, Shakir Rehmatullah.

“I’d really like to stress how important it is that people like Shakir and Flato step up. Without them we wouldn’t have the health care that we have,” Lamberti said. “His generosity touches lives of people he will never meet.”

She added, “He really has made a difference.”

The new hospital cost approximately $69 million in total, and Lamberti said the community is grateful to have high-quality healthcare services in their backyard.

“As small rural places lose their hospitals, it’s a godsend we got a shiny new state of the art 78,000 sq ft facility,” Lamberti enthused.

She said without the support of the community, Markdale would have lost its hospital, and its community donations like the $500,000 pledge from Flato that help to keep it viable.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.