For arrivals and departures — and the sake of lives lived in between — everyone needs a nurse.
That was the overarching sentiment in an emotional and inspirational kickoff Wednesday morning for the annual TRU Foundation campaign for student scholarships and bursaries.
“Last year the foundation was successful in raising more than $3 million,” said Christopher Sequin, TRU vice-president advancement. “Our success is possible mainly through the support of kind donors who are responsible for where we are today.”
Last year, the foundation disbursed financial assistance to 945 TRU students in Kamloops and Williams Lake, but financial needs continue to exceed financial resources.
“This is where we need to close the gap,” Sequin said.
With new developments underway in the School of Nursing and distinguished contributors over the years, the foundation used nursing as an example of community supporting student achievement.
Seguin recognized lifetime support of nursing from Kamloops Seniors Citizens Housing Society ($60,000), RIH Evening Auxiliary ($92,8700), Eleanor Thompson ($338,000) and Ken Lepin ($238,000).
Donna Murnaghan, dean of nursing, announced plans for a major expansion to the TRU Health and Sciences Building, a project worth $20 million to $25 million. The new facility will emphasize training for complex care.
“It’s really an expansion so that we can offer an open classroom, an inter-professional simulation lab,” she explained.
“We think we can make a different at TRU. We are moving away from silo learning and we are starting to structure for interdisplinary funding. Eventually, we will be one big team.”
Fourth-year nursing student Heather Cameron shared her trials and tribulations as a mature student with two children, one who overcame addiction to fulfill a dream of becoming a nurse.
After growing up in Kamloops, Cameron’s life hit bottom in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, addicted and pregnant. She returned to her home town, connected with services and regained control of her life.
“Really, growing up, I always wanted to go to university. Unfortunately, addiction took me away for years, for many years … I think TRU was a blessing for me.”
The bursaries she has received help with basic needs for her family, including providing a comfortable Christmas during which clothes, food and rent are covered.
“Today, I can honestly say I will graduate without being ashamed of where I come from,” she said. “That is a beautiful thing.”
Murnaghan said TRU is an open-access institution: “You have done the whole School of Nursing and this university proud by sharing your experience.”
Foundation chairman David Paul thanked donors gathered for the kickoff breakfast in the Grand Hall, saying their generosity changes lives.
“Each year we receive many thank-you cards from students who have benefited from receiving financial assistance through the foundation,” Paul said. “I know that many of you in this room have attended the awards ceremony (in November) and have personally experienced what a great feeling is to hand out an award to a student and feel their immense gratitude.
Longtime TRU supporter Stella Black was honoured with a TRU Foundation Lifetime Dedication Award for her involvement going back to 1981. She served on the foundation board from 1991-2012, as chairwoman of the breakrast planning committee since 2009and on the TRU board of governors from 1981-1991. Black also had a 43-year career in health with Royal Inland Hospital.
“It’s been a longtime association and it’s kind of a passion of mine,” she said. “I really believe that education can change the world.”