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Abbotsford philanthropist donates $1 million for new CT scanner

Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation says donation frees it up to fundraise for second machine
Abbotsford philanthropist Vivian Trethewey leans against a railing on her deck, which looks out over Abbotsford from her home up the hill on the city’s east side. Trethewey handed the Fraser Valley Healthcare Foundation $1 million recently to purchase a new CT scanner to replace an aging machine. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) will be getting a new CT scanner thanks to a $1 million donation from local philanthropist Vivian Trethewey.

The Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation kicked off a campaign to fund a replacement of one of the hospital’s CT scanners – described by the foundation as “aging” – in early spring of this year.

“The current CT scanners run 24/7, all year long. Over 30,000 scans were done at ARH in 2017,” said Liz Harris, executive director of the foundation, in a news release.

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The $1 million donation from Trethewey will cover the entire cost of replacement, the foundation said, allowing it to fundraise to replace a second CT scanner.

“Vivian’s gift was truly selfless and will help thousands of people in our community for years to come,” Harris said. “We are very grateful for her generosity and for the giving that is coming from all corners of our community.”

At 93 years old, and as a once-aspiring nurse, Trethewey said she understands the vitality of one’s health above anything else.

“If you’re not well – I’ve not been well at times – it doesn’t matter what money you have or anything. Health is everything,” she said.

“They really need it; that’s all I needed to know.”

Speaking from her home in Abbotsford, Trethewey said she had a sum of money she was looking to donate, with a particular interest in helping those in poverty and struggling with addictions. With that in mind, she said she has sent donations of $100,000 and more to other organizations like the Kinghaven Treatment Centre, a residential addictions treatment centre.

However, she approached the Fraser Health Authority to seek other matters to donate money to, and the first suggestion was the CT scanner.

“When (Harris) suggested the scanner, it was perfect,” Trethewey said. “It just worked out … that the million dollars went bang. Because she explained to me how vital it was and how needy it was. … So many people that use it has tripled, and they need another one. People from Chilliwack and Mission and Fraser Valley all use it, and she said they were in dire need of another one.”

Trethewey said she still has about $1.5 million to donate, and said she will likely focus on organizations working on poverty and addictions.

“There could be a situation where people are broke, but they need it,” she said. “Whatever’s current, whatever’s necessary. That’s what counts.”

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter
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