Million-dollar donation for babies
Kristen Holliday - Jan 05, 2023 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
Guy Mercier, with granddaughter Briar, son Justin and daughter Aimee, who is holding a photo of her grandmother, Rita C. Mercier.

A Kamloops businessman and philanthropist has donated $1 million to the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation—money that will go toward RIH’s new neonatal intensive care unit.

In a news release, the RIH Foundation said Guy Mercier made the donation in honour of his mother, Rita C. Mercier, who suffered the loss of four children before the age of four, and showed “tireless dedication” to her family and surviving six children.

The new neonatal intensive care unit will be named after her.

“Listening to my mother tell the stories of the loss of their newborn daughter and three sons provided a perspective of what many parents go through with a sick baby or toddler. This was one way for my family to impact change,” Mercier said in a statement.

According to the RIH Foundation, the new NICU is located in the recently built Phil and Jennie Gaglardi tower, and is more attuned to the needs of families and premature babies.

The expanded unit includes eight single bassinet rooms and four stabilization bays, and the new space will allow parents to have the option of staying overnight with their baby in private rooms.

Dr. Denise Chapple, chief of pediatrics at RIH, said the neonatal intensive care unit is grateful to receive Mercier’s gift.

“It allows us to provide optimal family-centred care to our patients and their loved ones,” she said.

“This generous contribution will help to fit each private patient room in the NICU with a refrigerator and sleeper chair so that out-of-town parents can enjoy the comforts of home while staying with their newborn babies.”

Chapple said the donation will also help to purchase special beds for babies who are receiving care.

RIH Foundation said Mercier has supported it, among other Kamloops organizations, for more than 20 years. Mercier, the founder of construction firm Acres Enterprises, said he hopes to inspire his own children to give back through this donation.

Heidi Coleman, CEO of RIH Foundation, said Mercier has helped fund renovations in the emergency department’s trauma room and has supported the development of a cancer clinic at RIH.

“This newest gift has changed the way families and their newborns receive care in our hospital. We are very grateful for his ongoing support,” Coleman said.

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