Manjit Gill’s first encounter with Langley Memorial Hospital was not a pleasant one.
It was 1971, and she was a new bride who had just returned to Canada on a flight from Hong Kong after getting married in India.
And she was quite ill.
On arrival, out of concern that she might have contracted something contagious, she was ordered into an isolation ward at the Langley hospital.
“By the time I got home, I was dehydrated,” Gill said.
“They thought I was carrying a bug from India so they kept me for two weeks in an isolation room. People had to put on a mask to see me.”
As it turned out, it was nothing worse than stomach flu, she said.
“Now that I look at it, it’s funny.”
Many years later, Manjit is a board member of the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation, and has come to believe her stay in the isolation ward was an important introduction to the hospital and the crucial service it provides the community.
“I just think that everything connects to everything,” Manjit said.
Her tone turned serious when she talked about the connection that has been formed between her family and the hospital.
It was because of that connection, and a strong sense that success should be shared, that she and her husband Darcy pledged $1 million to the campaign to build a new ER.
“Langley hospital had done a lot for my family. My three grandkids and my son and a daughter were all born here,” Gill told the Langley Advance Times.
For her husband’s family, that connection goes back several generations.
He and his nine siblings were all born at LMH.
Donating to the hospital that has been such a big part of their family is all about giving back to the community, Gill said.
“I’m a firm believer in that. If you are fortunate enough, you should share with each other. We should do whatever we can to help people who need help.”
Manjit and Darcy have an long record of supporting the hospital and other charitable causes.
After Darcy fought and won a battle with prostate cancer, the couple began making contributions to help fight cancer.
They have previously funded a special room for young patients at LMH with a $250,000 donation and in February, they rallied the South Asian community to attend the hospital foundation’s first Giving Hearts Gala by announcing they would match all donations made that evening.
It was a “generous gesture,” said Phil Jackman, chair of the Emergency Response Campaign, “and we know it inspired the attendees to give and give generously.”
Jackman praised the Gills for their “heart, energy, commitment and love for Langley.”
Thanks to the matching contributions by the Gills, the event raised over $200,000.
Speaking for the hospital foundation, Kate Ludlam said LMH is “so lucky to be surrounded by such a giving community.”
Ludlam said the Gills “believe strongly in giving back and making a difference.”
Over the years, Manjit said she has seen the hospital struggle with an expanding population.
“I see a lot of care being given, I’ve always felt comfortable [when I go to LMH], but lately, I see that Langley has grown so fast that our hospital is not able to keep up with that,” she said.
“They are doing their best with whatever they have, but there’s always room for getting better.”
With a successful wood waste recycling and transport business and biomass green energy provider, Cloverdale Fuel and Darman Recycling, Manjit feels there is a responsibility to use that success to help people
Through the Emergency Response fundraising campaign, a new, larger emergency department will be built at LMH, equipped with the latest technically-advanced medical equipment to handle Langley’s growing and changing demographics.
The emergency department is slated to open in 2021.
The MRI suite will perform 7,500 exams within its first 12 months of operation and improve access to urgent medical care for residents of Langley and neighbouring communities.
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