Members of the last of 20 original guilds to support Whidbey’s only hospital are still doing what they can to help — and they’re having fun with it.
The Polly Harpole Hospital Guild held its annual luncheon and gift-shop-attire fashion show Thursday at Whidbey Golf Club.
Approximately 100 women took in the gift shop’s surprisingly fashionable selection at the sold-out event.
“It’s a really important part of our fundraising mission at the foundation,” said Patricia Duff, a WhidbeyHealth spokeswoman and a model at Thursday’s show.
“These women, this group, literally saves lives,” said Helen Taylor, executive director of the WhidbeyHealth Foundation.
The money raised at the third-annual event goes toward both scholarships and a medical-equipment “wish list.”
Thursday’s ticket proceeds will go toward paying for new automated external defibrillators throughout the medical center.
Guild volunteers also manage the hospital gift shop, which is another fundraising source.
Duff said there’s usually a spike in sales the day of and the following the fashion show.
Thursday afternoon the volunteers, who were sometimes a little reluctant but always good sports, displayed a wide variety of women’s clothing, scarves, purses and even a tiara.
The luncheon, show and raffle compose the guild’s largest fundraiser in its effort to support students who are pursuing degrees in the medical field and of purchasing equipment, said Arlene Johnson, chair of the nonprofit’s board.
The guild was formed in 1957 and is one of 20 that raised money to furnish the hospital when it was built in 1970. It’s named after Polly Harpole, the island’s first official public health nurse.
After Harpole’s county position ended, she founded and provided maternity care at the Harpole Maternity Home in Coupeville from 1936 to 1962.
At least three of Thursday’s fundraiser attendees were born in that facility, and many others present could name spouses or friends who were born there as well.
In her name, the hospital guild continues to donate annually to WhidbeyHealth.