You see them every day in the hospital, working the register at the Gift Shop, wheeling patients to the door to go home or delivering flowers and emails with a smile.
But few in the community realize the extent of the contributions made by the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Auxiliary Inc. The auxiliary members, who often also perform traditional volunteer duties, are among the largest donors to the medical center.
The Auxiliary raises funds by operating the gift shops at New Hanover Regional and Cape Fear Hospital. Auxiliary members also hold special sales throughout the year for hospital employees and collect funding from hospital vending machines and the baby photo program in the Family Birthplace.
At their monthly meetings, Auxiliary Board members learn about the needs of NHRMC and its departments, and the finance committee votes to provide financial support for programs that add an extra touch to patient care. An example of recent support is the purchase of four “hip chairs” for Oleander Rehab and Independence Rehab. These outpatient rehab centers see many orthopedic patients for whom sitting in a regular chair is extremely difficult.
“With these specialized orthopedic chairs, patients are safer and can help themselves more independently,” said Denise Miller, Coordinator of Oleander Rehab Services. “It is just such an improvement to patient comfort. We really appreciate the help of the Auxiliary.”
Total contributions made by the Auxiliary in 2006 were $147,725, including $41,207 in support of Hospitality House. In 2006, one of the largest contributions made to the medical center was the purchase of a virtual reality system for patients undergoing an MRI at Cape Fear Hospital. This program allows patients to wear goggles that allow them to watch movies or television shows while in the MRI. It decreases stress and the number of patients requiring medication to stay in that very tight space for the duration of the exam.
Another example of the Auxiliary’s gifts to the medical center includes the purchase of teddy bears, which volunteers give to all patients in the medical center on Christmas Day.
“It is really rewarding to serve on this board and know our contributions make a difference for patients, said Auxiliary President Betsy Watkins. “We are proud of the work we do and happy to be able to help.” For more information on the NHRMC Auxiliary or Volunteer Services, call 910.815.5317