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River Hospital sees increase in memorial donations

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ALEXANDRIA BAY — River Hospital and its foundation have seen a dramatic increase in memorial and celebratory financial contributions, leaving the organizations with a strong message: The community cares about its hospital.

Andrea C. Bates, the foundation’s director of development, said while people contributed to the hospital and foundation for those purposes in previous years, it has been passion from prominent village residents that has carried the organizations to another level.

“Fran Brown was a former foundation board member, hospital board member and former hospital employee,” Mrs. Bates said. “She died in November and that’s when we started to see a staggering amount of gifts in her memory. She was vital to the rebirth of River Hospital.”

From Nov. 1 to Feb. 1, a total of $4,255 was collected through memorial and celebratory gifts, which was a huge jump from only $150 a year earlier.

Mrs. Bates said while people have always thought of the hospital as a place to give, “it’s been nice to have them recognize the foundation as a place to memorialize those individuals.”

Money often flows to the foundation in the form of memorial gifts, even if an obituary doesn’t indicate where gifts may be made.

Mrs. Bates said all of that money and work come from people in the community who have been affected by the hospital and have made it known to friends and family how much it means that it’s still there.

Aside from a monetary gift, people can purchase memorial pavers or granite benches, which are part of a walkway surrounding the flagpole at the front of the hospital, 4 Fuller St.

Such contributions are critical, she said, as outright donations will help sustain the foundation, which supports the hospital by raising money for equipment and services.

“The village has lost so many prominent people, and it’s been tough to deal with,” Mrs. Bates said.

For more information on River Hospital, its foundation or how to contribute to either, Mrs. Bates can be reached by calling the foundation at 482-4976.

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