The Atlantic Canadian construction industry and friends came together in a big way on Saturday, October 28th, raising a remarkable $330,000 for the IWK during the 2017 Kent Great Big Dig.

“I’ve been involved with the Kent Great Big Dig for many years and I’m so grateful to our organizing team, sponsors and volunteers for hosting another incredible evening in support of the IWK,” says John Flemming of Ocean Contractors, who took over as event chair this year. “We are so fortunate to have the IWK in our community and I’m proud of the difference the local construction industry is making to the children and families of Atlantic Canada who rely on its care.”

Over the last 15 years, the event has raised more than $3.2 million for the IWK. This year, funds will support the replacement of the aging incubator fleet in the IWK’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with new Specialized Neonatal Incubators. These new incubators feature an overhead warmer, which allows the top to be raised so babies can stay warm and comfortable during delicate procedures. The warmer also enables the care team to respond to emergencies within seconds without having to transfer babies to a warming device, which can cause undue stress to a critically ill infant.
Katie and Sean Smith know just how vital it is for the IWK’s NICU to obtain these new incubators. Their son, Eli, spent the first two months of his life in an incubator after being born 16 weeks early, weighing just 1 lb. 8 oz.

Eli was discharged from the IWK in September, three days after his original due date. Today, weighing 12 pounds, he is home with his parents and is thriving!

“The funds raised at this year’s Kent Great Big Dig are supporting the life-saving care of patients like Eli,” says Jennifer Gillivan, President & CEO, IWK Foundation. “The IWK is the special place it is today for our patients and their families because of the unwavering generosity of our Maritime community.  Thank you to everyone involved in the Kent Great Big Dig for continuing to build a future of excellence at the IWK.”