Promoting first-class health care, from prenatal to palliative

Northern Lights Health Foundation advances health and wellness as Fort McMurray rebuilds

Speech therapy for an autistic child.

Chemotherapy treatments without travel costs.

A friendship program connecting children and seniors.

Minimally invasive surgery suites, to get patients back on the mend sooner.

Healthy lifestyle education—targeting obesity, diabetes and smoking—delivered directly to school classrooms.

That’s what the Northern Lights Health Foundation means—and much, much more— to a Fort McMurray community getting back on its feet.

Since 1985, the Northern Lights Health Foundation has raised funds in the Wood Buffalo region of northern Alberta to purchase medical equipment, and deliver programs and services, that make a measurable impact on the health and wellness of Fort McMurray.

“Health care is so important to everyone. You don’t get to participate in sports events or community activities or festivals without it,” says Cindy Amerongen, executive director of the foundation. “It really begins with health.”

And for Fort McMurray residents rebuilding their lives following the devastating spring 2016 wildfire, and a higher rate of anxiety and mental health issues in the community, the need for the foundation—and the tools it provides to people trying to heal and move forward—is greater than ever.

In March 2016, the foundation launched the largest capital campaign in its history—the $16-million Gratitude Campaign, encompassing eight vital health care projects in the Fort McMurray area, ranging from prenatal to palliative care.

With Christmas around the corner, the campaign has recently picked up steam, and the foundation is actively seeking donors to support all areas of the campaign.

“In light of the wildfires in Wood Buffalo, our Gratitude Campaign—and the Gratitude Day event that we held in the summer—have certainly taken on an even greater meaning,” says Amerongen.

Enbridge exists to fuel quality of life, and we are committed to strengthening the communities where we operate. In the case of Fort McMurray, we recently sponsored the Northern Lights Health Foundation’s pre-Christmas Festival of Trees celebration, and we’ve donated $15,000 to foundation initiatives in each of the past four years.

“When you go into a hospital, you expect it to be technical and clinical and cold,” says Gina Davis, who gave birth to her third child at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.

“The staff there really do care,” she says. “We’re not just numbers to them. It’s not just another baby being born. I’ll thank them forever for that.”