Dustin Pratt Memorial Fund supports children

Dustin Pratt loved children, so it’s only natural that money from a memorial fund created in his memory would be used to support young people in Estevan.

Roxane Pratt and Christine Meszaros from the Dustin Pratt Memorial Fund were at St. Joseph’s Hospital on Thursday to present a cheque for $15,000 to the hospital’s foundation. Members of the recently-created Youth Ambassadors program at the hospital were on hand to accept the money, which will be used to renovate the children’s area in the hospital’s waiting room and to provide care packages for young patients at the hospital.

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Roxane Pratt said the money was raised through the proceeds from golf tournaments that have been held in the past three years.

“We wanted to help children, and we wanted to keep the money local, and the hospital was looking for donors,” said Roxane Pratt. “We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to honour Dustin.”

Breanne Van De Woestyne, the executive director of the hospital foundation, said the Pratt fund members wanted to support something that would provide comfort for children receiving medical attention at the hospital or visiting family.

“We took that as an opportunity to really look at what we needed upgraded around the hospital, and the biggest one that we thought of would be the waiting area in the ER for the kids area,” said Van De Woestyne.

The waiting room is a highly visible part of the hospital, and that was part of the reason why they selected this project. It also offers an area for kids to be in a positive atmosphere if they’re feeling ill or stressed.

“It’s an escape from the hospital in a way, so we pitched that to them to see if it was something they were interested in, and they jumped on the opportunity immediately,” said Van De Woestyne.

The youth ambassadors are excited to plan the design. New furniture, equipment, activities, magazine subscriptions and books will all be included. Some furniture and magazines are currently in the children’s area.

An iPad will be accessible for the children while they’re at the hospital.

Also included in the project are care packages for any kid who is admitted in obstetrics or the Unit A department. They will receive a foundation teddy bear, a kid’s hospital gown with a princess or superhero theme and activity books.

“Going forward, no matter what, those kids packages will be in his name. It doesn’t matter how long the boxes themselves first run, the foundation will continue to fund those boxes going forward, and they will all be in Dustin Pratt’s name,” said Van De Woestyne.

A refurbishment has been on the hospital’s wish list for some time, but now they get to complete the project and partner people who Van De Woestyne referred to as an “amazing” family who want to remember a loved one that valued children.

The renovations are expected to cost $7,500, and the care packages will cost another $7,500. They hope renovations can begin in January, and that the care packages will be available at that time, too.

Roxane Pratt said they have been able to help numerous other causes in the community through proceeds from the golf tournament, including the Estevan Minor Hockey Association, Estevan Minor Box Lacrosse, the Estevan Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Camp, the Estevan Special Olympics and the Community Hamper Association.

They have also sponsored local families in need, and they donated to Gage Goetz’s efforts to raise money for the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital through the sale of a 4-H steer in July.

These were the types of causes that her son supported.
“He always liked kids, and he always liked to help people out. This is our way to honour him,” said Roxane Pratt.

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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