Safeway staff help clinic buy needed equipment

Employees from a local Canada Safeway store have made a contribution to movement disorders research at UBC.

A group of five employees from the Tenth Avenue and Sasamat branch wanted to do some fund-raising that would be relevant to the Point Grey community served by the store.

Luckily for patients at the UBC Movement Disorders Clinic, the group decided to make equipment for the newly renovated clinical trials area of the facility the target of their campaign.

A summer of hot dog sales, car washes and barbecues in the Safeway parking lot brought in a total of $4,000 from Safeway employees and customers.

The store also distributed information brochures about movement disorders, the most common of which, Parkinson's disease, affects 80,000 Canadians.

"We've never tried anything like this before," says Safeway administrative clerk Valerie Wong, co-ordinator of the campaign. "All the employees really got behind it."

With the donation the clinic was able to purchase an adjustable height patient bed and weighing scales which will enable clinic staff to carry out examinations for clinical trials in one location.

"It makes a real difference for patients with movement difficulties to have activities centralized," says Prof. Donald Calne, director of UBC's Neurodegenerative Disorders Centre, of which the Movement Disorders Clinic is a part. With finding support for clinical research projects becoming more difficult, donations such as this are especially appreciated, he adds.

The adjustable height bed is particularly helpful for patients who use a wheelchair, says clinical trials nurse Sharon Yardley. Patients can now simply slide from the chair across to the bed, which is then raised pneumatically to a comfortable working level.

The new equipment is currently being used in two clinical trials of Parkinson's disease medication.