For parents who experienced firsthand the complication of a premature child, the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital carries special meaning to two members of the Martin Charlton Communications team.
Paul and Marsha Martin, both long-time board members of the Hospital Foundation, were in Saskatoon for the hospital’s grand opening on Sept. 5.
The hospital will receive its first patients on Sept. 29.
“It was an emotional time. It was almost overwhelming,” Marsha Martin said. “You could see the pride in the eyes of everyone in that room. It was that feeling of, ‘Wow, we did it.’ It was a sense of pride and accomplishment and togetherness for all of those people who worked so hard for that common goal.”
Paul and Marsha’s daughter Jocelyn was born premature, which meant the new parents logged many a day and night in a neonatal intensive care unit. This led to their joining of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation (formerly the Children’s Health Foundation then the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan). Paul was an original member when the foundation was created in 1992. Marsha joined years later.
The Foundation’s original plan was to fund research and specialized equipment sized for children. However, that narrative shifted more to a need and desire to open a children’s hospital. At the time, Saskatchewan was one of two provinces in the country without a children’s hospital.
Funding through donations quickly arrived, with the first donation being $1 million.
In 2009, the Saskatchewan government earmarked $200 million towards the project. It later upped its funding to $257 million to allow for additional in-patient beds and more square footage.
It was during construction when the project received its most generous donation from the public. Vancouver businessman Jim Pattison, originally from Luseland, Sask., donated $50 million.
“It was set in stone then just how important this hospital was and how people resonated with the feelings that are associated with getting this hospital built,” Marsha Martin said. “This was a way that Jim Pattison could give back to his community.
“That’s just what we do here. When a need comes up that is good for the province, whether it’s the hospital or hosting a Grey Cup, Saskatchewan people always step forward.”
More than 72 full-time physicians in more than 20 specialties are expected to staff the hospital. The number of pediatricians in the province will double from 62 to 122.