OLDS — A online auction organized for the Olds Health Care Fundraising Committee (OHCFC) has proven so successful that its chair, Liz Mills, predicts they’ll hold one again.
The auction was staged by Rosehill Auction Service & Olds Auction Mart via Facebook Live April 9-13.
The committee decided to go that route because they couldn’t hold a regular auction, due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Mills says the 11 items sold in the silent auction raised $15,255 for the committee. Another $3,000 was donated above that figure.
It’s all part of an 18-month campaign by the OHCFC to come up with $128,000 in order to buy four panda warmers for the Olds hospital labour and delivery unit.
Panda warmers have everything the unit needs all in one piece of equipment. They can provide suction, deliver and monitor oxygen and regulate temperature. They even have a weigh scale.
Having all those capabilities in one piece of equipment is more efficient than having several devices to check on the wellbeing of a newborn.
And with fewer machines to check, nurses have more time to interact with moms and their babies.
Those who bought items in the silent auction were able to pick them up the afternoon of April 14 at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #105 in Olds. A steady stream of people came by to do so.
Mills was happy with how the auction turned out.
“We were very pleased with this," she said. “We thought that it gave donors more recognition through Facebook and through the auction site. And it seems to have opened us up to more donors, so we’re very pleased.”
Mills was asked if, given the success of the silent auction, the committee might hold another one in the future, even if there’s no pandemic.
“I think we would, yes. People seem to enjoy it,” she said.
Mills was grateful to the local Royal Canadian Legion for donating the space for people to pick their auction items up. She noted the facility’s banquet room was large enough that “we could distance everybody and we could follow the COVID restrictions.”
“Because we’re health care, we’ve got to be very careful,” she said.
Cassandra Stromsmoe, a nurse who works primarily in the labour and delivery unit at the Olds hospital, was among those who picked up their auction items on Wednesday.
She was pretty pleased with her haul, noting she obtained several gift certificates and a tool set for her husband.