The Renal Department is a cause that is close to Liz Nucci’s heart. Her Nonna Lisetta has had appointments in the Renal Department for several years now. The care she receives from the Renal Department has been exceptional.
“Nonna didn’t need dialysis, so we were lucky. But there are so many people who depend on these services. The Renal Department and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences in general do so much for patients here,” said Liz Nucci.
Dialysis can be a long, arduous treatment, usually taking between four and five hours. Not only is it a long time to sit, it often overlaps mealtimes. Early on, the Renal Department at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre created a little kitchen area for patients and family members to make a cup of tea or heat up food in the microwave.
Over the years though, the kitchen had seen a lot of wear and tear. It’s not surprising, considering that the department provides services from 7 am to 11 pm, six days per week. This past summer, the kitchen got a complete makeover thanks to two generous donors: the Nucci Family and the Employee Giving Fund.
The Nucci Family has long supported the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Liz and her brother Mario started the “Candy for Paeds” candy bags when she was in grade 12, back about 7 years ago. Candy bags are available at many businesses here in Thunder Bay. Visitors can also make a $1 donation at one of several candy baskets around the Hospital. The fundraiser was so successful that they decided to use the same candy bags to raise money for other areas of the Hospital – including the renal kitchen.
Lisetta said that it was mostly Liz and Liz’s mother Mary who organized the donation, though she is glad to be a part of it. “It’s a nice thing to do,” Lisetta said.
Liz said that launching “Candy for Paeds” all those years ago really opened her eyes to how easy it is for a small gesture to make such a big difference in people’s lives. “If everyone just gives a dollar, think of the impact we can have for the people of the community,” she said. Although Liz now lives in Toronto, she visits Thunder Bay often and usually spends part of her time making new candy bags.
The Employee Giving Fund covered the remaining costs of the renal kitchen. This internal fundraising program for Hospital staff raises thousands of dollars per year. A committee meets every year to decide where to direct the funds they’ve raised, and this year the renal kitchen was one of the clear winners.
“Patients endure long hours of dialysis, two or three times per week. We want to make their appointments as comfortable as possible,” said Athena Kreiner, Director of Annual Giving at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and a member of the Employee Giving Committee.
The makeover includes new cupboards, a new stainless steel countertop, new sink and plumbing, and a new backsplash. It also included a new mini-fridge to allow patients and caregivers to store cold items. A new microwave was already purchased for the kitchen thanks to Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and Volunteer Services Family CARE Grant.
“We are grateful for all the services that my Nonna has received,” Liz said. “It’s important to give back.”