George Wood

Touching Lives: Shelly McClumpha

When your time is short every moment counts

Shelly McClumpha of Howe Point is a passionate supporter of local healthcare and the Eastern Kings Health Foundation. A former director of the Foundation, she served on the board from 2006-2012. When asked to join the board her father’s ongoing health concerns and regular use of the health services at the Souris Hospital was an incentive to become involved.

In his 70s, Shelly’s father George developed an arrhythmia of his heart. Following this diagnosis he visited the lab at Souris Hospital regularly to have his blood work done and his INR levels checked. As he aged, having the lab in Souris allowed him to maintain his independence. His extended family were very supportive but it would have been uncomfortable for him to constantly rely on others for the frequent trips he needed if he would have had to travel further.

Described as a “stoic gentleman” George was later diagnosed with lung cancer in March 2014, then bone cancer in April. While in hospital he needed x-rays and even more frequent blood work. It was less stressful to have those done at Souris Hospital then it would have been to take a car or even an ambulance ride to another facility.

For Shelly and her father it was important to have the services of the lab, x-ray, home care and eventually palliative care available in Souris so he could be in his own home as much as possible and keep travelling to a minimum. She says, “Any time on the road was very hard on him, so it was much better to stay local for as much of it as possible.” Sadly, George passed away in May 2014 at the age of 85. Without the services available here, her father would have spent a lot more time travelling for healthcare rather than spending precious time with his family in the last months of his life. Shelly says that he would have felt a bother to family members for the last few years of his life, something no one wants for their loved ones.

Both her time as a board member and her involvement in her father’s healthcare have shown Shelly how valuable the Foundation is to the community. She believes that if the Foundation did not fund raise for important equipment like the x-ray machine it wouldn’t be here.

“The Foundation’s ongoing financial support allows seniors and all people with ongoing health concerns to access routine but important x-ray and blood work at their own hospital. Seriously ill patients needing these services are able to avoid uncomfortable ambulance transportation when they can access these at their own hospital. Having experience with both these situations, I think supporting the Foundation and all the services they support isn’t an option. It is necessary.”

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