Greatest Needs

The St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital Foundation’s mission is to partner with the community to support OUR Hospital in the delivery of an excellent patient care experience during each visit, at every stage of life, and as close to home as possible.

We do this by making annual investments in patient care equipment, the physical infrastructure of STEGH, as well as the training of front line staff. The Foundation office works hand-in-hand with the clinical team at the Hospital to identify projects that have the widest possible impact for our entire community.

This holiday season, we are raising funds for STEGH’s Women & Children’s Services for the purchase of much needed patient care equipment. Below, you will read about the needs and how the Women and Children’s Services have impacted local families.

Our Holiday Appeal Letter
Penned by Jackie Koufie,
Manager of Women & Children’s Services


Dear Friends,

What an amazing moment it is, when you hear the first cries of your newborn and welcome your little one into the world. The happiness, nerves, uncertainty and excitement that have been all bundled up for months are released the very moment you realize your little one is actually here.

In those moments, you are reassured, guided and supported by the incredible Women and Children’s Services staff at the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH). OUR Hospital is the place that generations of families have relied on to help them welcome their little ones into the world. This holiday season, will you consider making a gift in support of STEGH’s Women and Children’s Services?

My name is Jackie Koufie and my career has taken me all over the world, from the United Kingdom, to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to British Columbia and now, St. Thomas. Through travel and work, I have acquired a diverse set of experiences and have improved my skills as a Nurse, Midwife, and now Manager of Women and Children’s Services at OUR Hospital.

Every day I witness the passion, dedication and strong work ethic of our staff as they ensure the best care possible for every mother, baby and child on our floor. However, in order to do this, they need new tools and equipment to continue their important work. Will you help STEGH’s Women and Children’s Services with a gift of support this holiday season?


“My birth experience at STEGH was wonderful. I came in for an induction and the Nursing staff on third floor were exceptional, so helpful and professional, yet fun, which helped put my mind at ease. They respected my decisions through the birth and afterwards, and they took the time to explain everything. It felt wonderful to be looked after by staff who care passionately about their work. It was such an incredibly positive experience.”

Parents can rest assured that Women and Children’s Services and the Special Care Nursery are there to support their little ones when an extra level of care is needed. For parents like Michelle and Bob Apfelbeck, the Special Care Nursery had an exceptional impact on their after-birth experience.

My husband and I decided to welcome our son at home, with the help of the Talbot Creek Midwives. Our son surprised us with markers of Down syndrome, and we were concerned about his oxygen levels. Because of the common issues with Down syndrome such as feeding and heart defects, we admitted him for monitoring and tests. The staff were very respectful, asked for our opinions, and included us in the care process, which gave us comfort knowing that we were in the best of hands. The Nurses could sense my fears and explained what each machine and wire did, and what every noise meant. With a strong desire to hold our baby, but a stronger wall of fear between us, the Nurses helped break it down and put us at ease enough to hold and bond with our son. We were so thankful for their care.”



Fear and uncertainty fade away when staff offer reassurance and involve parents in the care planning process. For us to continue to provide that extra level of care like Michelle and her son received, staff need the tools and equipment to help the Special Care Nursery support parents and their babies.

Women and Children’s Services urgently need a nurse call system and a baby alarm system, which are essential front-line tools as they are the primary means of communication between patients and Nursing staff. Both of these call systems have the power to enhance patient comfort and wellbeing, increase safety, and make it easier for staff to monitor patients.

Will you consider making a donation to support the purchase of these important tools?

Over the past five years, the community’s response to Women and Children’s Services fundraisers like Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Week has been incredible. Heather Stillitano, a huge fan of Smile Cookies, had a very special reason to celebrate the campaign this year, as Heather and her husband Sonny welcomed their son during Smile Cookie Week. They are grateful for the ongoing support from our donors and community.


“You know my love of Smile Cookies – and destiny played its part in giving me my Smile Cookie baby! This year it is even more special to me knowing that funds are going to Women and Children’s Services. The staff were so amazing during our stay, I can’t say enough great things about them – and it’s just incredible that the funds from Smile Cookie Week are directed to these Services.”

Many families can relate to the experiences of Alyssa, Michelle and Heather. Their stories reinforce the importance of supporting patient equipment like stretchers, a nursing call system, and a baby alarm system that will assist in the care provisions our parents and babies deserve. We need your help so local families can rely with confidence on OUR Hospital and staff for their care and that of their young children.

With the giving season well under way, we hope you will consider making a donation to support much needed equipment for Women and Children’s Services at OUR Hospital.

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season.

Warm Regards,

Jackie Koufie,
Manager, Women and Children’s Services, STEGH