When friends first approached Ernie Richardson and his wife, Rikki, 30 years ago about donating to Hospitals of Regina Foundation, the answer was an emphatic yes.
They first donated in 1988 through Ernie’s company, Richardson Lighting, which he started following a successful curling career and a stint working for his father’s construction firm. Ernie and Rikki’s reasons for donating were simple – everyone needs the hospital at some point in their life and they could afford it.
“I felt we should pick a charity to support and what better cause than our hospitals,” Ernie remembers.
I wanted to help because I know we’re all going to be using the facilities, if we haven’t already. We need to keep equipment up-to-date so we can get the best doctors to come and work at our hospitals.
Of course, Ernie and Rikki have personal connections to Regina’s hospitals. Ernie has had regular visits to Pasqua Hospital for skin cancer treatments, an issue he attributes to the time he spent in the sun as a young man working outside in construction.
“I always loved to get a tan so I never wore a hat or a shirt and I was the healthiest-looking guy in Regina, not realizing I was causing myself grief down the road,” Ernie recalls with a chuckle. “When you’re young, you don’t think about your health as much, but as you get older, you think about it more.”
Through the company and personally, Ernie and Rikki have donated more than $200,000 to the Foundation, including to the Wolfe Stroke Centre, the surgical campaign and the Rawlco Centre for Mother Baby Care. Ernie, who can still be found at Richardson Lighting on any given day, hopes to keep giving.
“We’ve increased the amount since the early days and I’m hoping if we live long enough, we’ll be able to increase it some more,” he says, adding that he hopes others, including his children, follow his lead.
Whatever they can afford, they should definitely consider Hospitals of Regina Foundation because it’s a great place to donate to for the future and for everybody in this province.
“Southern Saskatchewan is renowned for being a giving community and people like Ernie and Rikki Richardson are great examples of that,” says Dino Sophocleous, president and CEO, Hospitals of Regina Foundation. “Thanks to people in the community like the Richardson’s, we are able to make crucial investments in Regina’s hospitals, making local health care the best that it can be.”