Ultra-successful ‘Tour’ benefits Whidbey General Hospital

Whidbey General Hospital Foundation has announced that its 2009 fundraising bike event, Tour de Whidbey, set new records for the number of riders participating and the amount of money raised.

“Everywhere I go, people are asking ‘how many riders, how many riders’?” said Laura Blankenship, the foundation’s executive director.

Answers were provided last week. The final rider count was 505, breaking 500 for the first time. Thirty percent of the riders were Whidbey Islanders, with 64 percent of the off-islanders coming from within Washington, 10 riders from out-of-state and 18 riders from Canada.

Whidbey Island’s hilly 100-mile route attracted 183 riders to test their skills and endurance, while the second year of the 10-mile family ride was enjoyed by 75 riders, ages 6 to 76.

The September event raised nearly $50,000 this year, credited largely to support from platinum sponsor Whidbey Island Bank, gold sponsors Whidbey Telecom and the WGH Medical Staff, and the silver sponsorships of three local businesses, Arndt & Walker, P & L General Contractors and Coldwell Bank Tara Properties Community Fund, as well as eight hospital vendors.

“The goal for the event was the purchase of a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine for the obstetrics unit at Whidbey General Hospital,” Blankenship said. “Ultrasound has become the standard of practice in obstetrics. The new ultrasound replaces a 15-year-old basic model with the newest integrated technology.”

The new ultrasound is already in the unit serving its six birthing rooms where about 200 babies are born per year. Due to the 2009 tour’s fundraising success, Blankenship said the foundation board will be considering the purchase of an additional piece of equipment for the hospital at its final meeting of 2009.

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