This whole St. Pauls hospital story has me annoyed tonight.
If you are not sure of the story Dean Thullner, a Vancouver guy, was the producer behind a St. Pauls fundraiser called Brilliant!
Well he says he was asked by the hospital foundation to remove any reference to LGBTQ community.
And because of that, he has quit.
Listen to Dean Thullner explain why:
He also states in a story by Dana Gee in the Vancouver Sun, that two representatives of the foundation told him they “didn’t want any gay on the runway.”
He says the issue here is they’re taking the event away from the LGBTQ community who started it, and continue to support it every year.
Now, this isn’t a small event. Over the past three years it has raised over $2 million dollars to support HIV, Aids mental health, and addiction programs.
Now it may seem like a small event in the grand scheme of things considering the amount of money that foundation pulls in every year from donations, legacy giving, and numerous interest accrued from multiple endowment sources.
But it seems odd that a foundation, that has access to millions, would try and essential take away the spirit in which this event was conceived on; to support a hospital foundation that supports those suffering from HIV and aids related illnesses.
Right on their Wikipedia page it says that St. Pauls specialties are Cardiac, HIV/AIDS, and renal medicine.
St. Pauls for years has been known as one of the leading treatment facilities for those with HIV and AIDS.
In fact Dean Thullner will be the first to tell you that he, as a man living with HIV and AIDS, who was even a former patient, calls the staff their angels.
St. Pauls has also, over the years, benefited greatly from the support of the LGBTQ community, not only because of the amazing work they’ve done but because of where that facility is located.
Dean says he was told the push to pull any gay references from the runway were requested by the SPHF CEO and President Dick Vollet’s wife.
Her name is Evelyn, and she happens to work for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver.
For starters, if you’re not on the board why would you think you have the place to request changes? Because your husband is the CEO?
We’ll ask Dick Vollet about that claim coming up later when we chat with him on the phone, Dean will also join us.
This the just the type of PR the hospital foundation should be avoiding regardless of the moral faith behind the hospital, or the people who influence it.
This is what Dick Vollet had to say about that:
Donations are donations and they come from the right place: the heart.
When you start dictating what is morally correct and what isn’t based on your own personal religious views of the world, that’s when you run the risk of alienating donors.
The unique position St Pauls is in is this: Big donors, some of them more than likely from catholic families, some, but not all, and the local community surrounding said facility, and a lot of those individual donors & volunteers that help stage events.
When you pit them against it each other you end up with large groups of people walking away from something that they have put their blood sweat and tears into.
Because of that, hospital’s location and the sheer volume of patients they’ve treated over the years for HIV and aids related illnesses, they automatically built relationships with families who have had loved ones treated there, or even die there.
Those people build lifelong loyalties to health care facilities because of the way they treated their loved ones when they were struck down with a debilitating illness.
A lot of them go on to volunteer, fundraise and help where they can… just like Dean Thullner did.
He gave back, and now they want to kill that idea? A small idea that has a huge following in Vancouver especially amongst the LGBTQ community.
Why ruin your PR position to potentially raise millions for your foundation because of essentially one person’s personal views?
The hospital foundation was invited to be part of the Simi Sara show this morning by producer Clair Allen after she had read Dana Gee’s story.
Full disclosure here, Claire Allen from CKNW is on the St. Paul’s hospital board.
Claire stated to them, she’d love to cover the story, but she also wanted to offer the same air time to Dean Thullner to tell his side of the story.
They eventually declined and opted for a TV interview with Global BC.
But with the media attention they have agreed to speak with us tonight.