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Windy Slopes receives $100,000 donation

Thursday, 09 May 2019. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Windy Slopes receives $100,000 donation

Retired nurse Audrey Branson and her late cousin, Carol Ann Kirkham, have given the largest donation on record to benefit the Pincher Creek Health Centre.

By Natalie Barfuss

This year, Audrey Lucille Branson celebrates the 61st anniversary of her graduation as a nurse. While she was house supervisor at the Colonel Belcher Hospital for veterans in Calgary, she saw a lot of firsts, including work on the first pacemaker in Alberta and the first colon/rectal surgeries.

Technology has changed, but Audrey’s advice to today’s nurses stays the same: “Do your job. Enjoy it. Learn it.”

During her career, Audrey worked for maternity at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, at Charles Camsell Hospital, for several years in public health, at Colonel Belcher Hospital and at Bethany Care.

“I had so many compliments from the duty doctors. I’m proud.”

Audrey and her cousin Carol Ann Kirkham (1944-2018) donated $100,000 to Windy Slopes Health Foundation, to be used for the Pincher Creek Health Centre.

“Carol never took a vacation, so it should be put to a good use,” Audrey said.

Donna Shauerte, who chairs the health foundation board, said, “We are so appreciative of donations like this. It assists Windy Slopes in providing equipment to the Pincher Creek Health Centre and benefits everyone in Pincher Creek and the surrounding area.”

Audrey explained that she and Carol both had health problems and were impressed with the care they received from the Pincher Creek Health Centre.

“We got treated royally. I spent 11 days one year — I was in a couple of times. I was on telemitry. Carol was in ICU for nine days when she was diagnosed with cancer.”

She said the doctors and nurses worked well as a team, getting ideas and collaborating on the best care, especially from Dr. Tracy Burton and Dr. Robert Cameron. “Dr. DeWet was my hero.”

As a retired nurse, Audrey felt they listened to her and responded to her suggestions.

“We all hit it off really well. I made lots of suggestions on care.”

Audrey and Carol had discussed making the donation before Carol died from lung cancer last year.

Carol was the owner of Chief Mountain Realty and worked as a realtor for over 20 years.

Audrey describes Carol as very quiet and reserved. She loved animals, especially her dogs and horses. She took riding lessons and was thrilled to get horses of her own when they moved to their acreage in Hill Spring.

Carol had a couple of sayings that Audrey treasures:

“If you have a problem, either you’re a part of the solution, or you’re a part of the problem. Which is it going to be?”

And, “If you’ve got a problem and can’t solve it, then build a bridge and get over it.”

Natalie Barfuss is the administrator for Windy Slopes Health Foundation.

20190515 Windy Slopes Carol Ann Kirkham

The late Carol Ann Kirkham


Audrey Branson poses at the Windy Slopes Health Foundation donor wall in the entrance of the Pincher Creek Health Centre.