Hot dogs for health! That was the name attached to a fundraising and awareness event that was held on May 6 near Coronach.
The Coronach Economic Development committee set up a barbequed hot dog sale on the road leading from SaskPower Poplar River Power Station to Coronach with proceeds going to the incentive package being offered to attract physicians to our community.
Hot dogs, donuts and pop were sold to community members for $10.00.
The community of Coronach, unable to secure a physician, frustrated with the inaction of the provincial government and with being unable to meet with the health minister, took matters into their own hands.
Colleen Christopherson-Cote, Coronach's Economic Development officer as well as town councillor and member of the Coronach Health advisory board, spearheaded the "Hot Dogs for Health" event. "Although the meeting with the minister was confirmed after the press release went out, the event continued to bring awareness to the health care issues we face in rural Saskatchewan." said Christopherson-Cote
"Media opportunities such as CTV news coming, brought amazing publicity to our amazing community and its fight to secure a doctor." she concluded.
Mother Nature didn't cooperate with the bbq, sending strong winds and rain to the area, but that didn't stop the community of Coronach.
Economic development committee members stood in the cold to barbeque, peel wieners and butter buns.
Hundreds of hot dogs were served to nearly 200 community members that huddled inside a trailer to keep warm. Christopherson-Cote was thrilled to announce over $2100 was raised at the bbq with donations still coming in.
Coronach's Mayor Skip McBain said, "Its nice to see a great turnout at this event to raise money for the doctors, it is fantastic. It is a fantastic little community and it is a joy to live here." Christopherson-Cote and Vern Palmer, secretary of the local health advisory committee and SUN country board member echoed Mayor McBains feelings. Palmer said, "I am glad to see the community showing up to support the event but I am even happier to know that we now have a meeting with the Minister."
The community has been working at securing a meeting with the minister and Christopherson - Cote said, "I am looking forward to expressing all of the concerns and reaching a solution in the meeting with the Minister." Palmer said, " I just hope that we are able to acquire some (provincial government )funding so that we are able to attract some physicians."
J.C. Garden, journalist with CTV Regina covered the story and was impressed. "I think it is excellent. . . it is becoming harder and harder for rural communities to survive with what's going on, and anything you can do. It just shows how resilient a community can be, how strong a community can be. People have been telling me that the Government hasn't been doing enough, so take matters into your own hands and if you can help bring health care to your community, then why not. It's really inspiring to see people get involved."
In June, a year will have passed since the community of Coronach was left without a doctor. Matters worsened when the doctor in Bengough resigned in November of 2008, forcing the health region to suspend all emergency services in Bengough and Coronach Health Centres.
The health centre in Bengough recently announced that they had secured a doctor that began her practice on May 4.