Gathered outside of the Chappell Family Building for Nursing and Population Health, Al Patel spoke of the need for quality health care in Kamloops. This is why the ICCHA Wish Fund, an organization Patel founded, has partnered with TRU School to help fund students in that program.
“We will give them the money to be debt-free for four years and study and be a nurse,” Patel explained. “That gift, most people can’t even imagine if they’re financially stressed.
The ICCHA Wish Fund presented TRU with a cheque for $100,000 to kick start the campaign which hopes to raise a $1 million endowment that will award a bursary each year. Each bursary will be worth $50,000, which gives those students awarded some peace of mind.
“It’s for the full four years of the program,” Dean of Nursing Rani Srivastava explained. “It’s hard for students. You get scholarships one year, but you don’t know if you’ll be able to come back for next year. Having this – having people who can come from their communities with a goal to going back, I think it’s just amazing.”
The donations to the program will go into ICCHA Wish Community Ambassador Fund, which already has some founding donors. Amrita Ebata, co-owner of Ebata Eye Care, knows all too well how important nurses are at RIH, after experiencing a health scare after graduating from TRU.
“My heart rate dropped to 23 beats per minute, and I was taken to the Intensive Care step-down unit. My family was told I might not survive the night,’ Ebata says. “I credit my recovery to the amazing nurses who poured their heart and soul into proving the best care for me around the clock.”
Ebata, who also works with Patel and the ICCHA Wish Fund, says that experience is part of what motivated her family to give back to the university.
“One nurse is going to make a huge difference,” Ebata said. “If we can support that education for more than one nurse, we’re very grateful for that.”
The first recipient of the ICCHA Wish Community Ambassador Fund Bursary will start school this coming September. In recognition of this gift, TRU will establish the ICCHA Wish Community Education Centre as part of the learning space inside the new nursing building.
For more information, or to donate, folks can visit iwishfund.ca or tru.ca/ICCCHAWishFund.