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Sandra Schmirler Day proclaimed in Charlottetown

The 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts is bringing with it more than just great curling and exceptional athletes to the region’s capital city. The PEI Host Committee and the Sandra Schmirler Foundation are teaming up with the QEH Foundation to celebrate and honour the late Sandra Schmirler as part of 2011 Scotties on Prince Edward Island.
The Sandra Schmirler Foundation was created in 2001 and is dedicated to donating and raising funds for hospitals across Canada for the care of premature and critically ill babies.

Francine Poisson, Marketing and Fundraising Coordinator for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, says she couldn’t be more excited to be able to honour Schmirler’s legacy by coming to PEI and making a contribution to the QEH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“Not only was she the skip of Canada’s first Olympic gold medal curling team and three-time world curling champion, she was a remarkably loving mother. Sandra poured her heart and soul into her family,” says Poisson. “I am pleased to announce that our Foundation will match all funds raised for the QEH NICU, up to $50,000. This is a tremendous opportunity to make a difference and help high-risk babies on the Island.”

Premier Robert Ghiz was on hand to officially declare Sandra Schmirler Day on Prince Edward Island on Sunday, February 20th. He says he is pleased to celebrate such an exemplary Canadian whose presence will be profoundly felt on the Island during this year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

“As Canadians, we all remember watching her win Olympic Gold in Nagano, learning of her cancer diagnosis following the birth of her second child and her sudden passing in 2000. As the father of a young daughter and with another baby on the way, I feel especially close to this cause,” says Premier Ghiz. “We are pleased to have the Sandra Schmirler Foundation on the Island for this special occasion and supporting our QEH NICU—so many Island families will benefit as a result.”

Dr. Mitchell Zelman, Head of the QEH NICU, says each year there are approximately 150 premature babies admitted to the NICU. This includes babies born here and babies transferred back home from an off-Island referral hospital.

“We have the neonatal expertise to care for high-risk premature newborns and critically ill babies. However, it’s the up-to-date medical equipment that really allows us to keep our services running,” says Zelman. “Our Island’s most fragile babies always do a little better when they are close to home so families can be together.”

Kim Dolan, Host Committee Chair, says Sandra Schmirler Day will be an event to remember. She encourages all Islanders to consider making a donation. After all, every dollar raised will go directly towards funding medical equipment for our hospital’s NICU so babies can receive the highest level of care here on PEI.

“We’re also inviting the public to join us for a good old fashioned Island kitchen party where donations will be accepted at the door. Anyone donating $100 or more that day will receive a Sandra Schmirler Foundation 10th Anniversary medallion,” says Dolan. “Live entertainment from ‘Boys in the Kitchen’ will begin at 5:00 p.m. in the HeartStop Lounge directly following PEI’s game against Quebec that Sunday.”

Dolan says it will also be a great chance to meet some of the top Canadian women’s curlers who are participating in this year’s Scotties.

“Sandra’s former team mate, Joan McCusker, will also be here to share some intimate curling stories about her team. We really hope people will come out to help celebrate while also supporting this terrific cause.”

For more information on how to support Sandra Schmirler Day on PEI, please call the QEH Foundation office at (902) 894-2425 or go to our website at www.qehfoundation.pe.ca.