DiBattista family of Picton Back the Build

Nicholas, Jeff, Traci and Alyssa DiBattista at their home in Picton. (Photo by Briar Boyce)

Health care touches us all in different ways, and it takes special people in the community to ensure medical professionals deliver the best care possible each and every day.

The desire to inspire others and helping to ensure access to health care is close to home is what motivated a $50,000 gift from the DiBattista family of Picton. The gift will be used to help build and equip the new Quinte Health Care Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital (QHC PECMH).

Jeff and Traci DiBattista were both born and raised in Ontario. They lived in Edmonton for 27 years where they raised their two children, Alyssa and Nicholas, before returning to Ontario to be closer to family.

When Jeff and Traci decided to move back, it took them two years to discover Prince Edward County (PEC). The couple explored many communities before Traci’s sister suggested PEC.

The DiBattista’s visited The County in the spring of 2019 and it was love at first sight. The couple connected immediately with the charm of the community citing that PEC had a feel that was welcoming and endearing. They moved to The County later that year.

Jeff and Traci were passionate about finding an old home and bringing it back to its original glory. That drive led them to their historic home and renovations are ongoing. Traci and Jeff felt they had come full circle landing in a small town. They hadn’t planned on relocating to The County full time but the threat of a looming global pandemic accelerated their plans.

“The silver lining of the pandemic for us was the motivation to get back to Ontario sooner,” said Traci. “There isn’t anywhere we would have rather been throughout the pandemic than in Prince Edward County. We got to know our neighbours quickly, and explored Picton by walking around.”

The family was introduced to the philanthropic community through the local newspapers that are delivered to their home every Thursday. It was through the news that Jeff and Traci discovered the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation and its donors.

Jeff, a structural engineer, was interested in the plans to build a new hospital as his firm has worked with hospital builds in the past. He also recognized they were newcomers to the community and wanted to contribute to the projects and services that make The County such a great place.

“When we approached the Foundation with the idea of making a contribution to Back the Build, we asked Shannon Coull what was needed in order to make a difference in the lives of patients,” Jeff said.

After learning about the options available to them, the DiBattistas decided to split their donation. They gave $25,000 towards building the new hospital and $25,000 towards funding the ultrasound machine, which will be used in the current hospital, and will move into the new hospital when the doors open in 2027.

“The projects we selected to fund with the guidance of the Foundation are truly extraordinary. We feel profoundly grateful to be in a position to provide these gifts which we know will benefit County residents and visitors for many years to come,” said Jeff.

The DiBattista family is committed to the health and wellness of patients and families in PEC and beyond. The $25,000 that is slated to Back the Build will support environmental sustainability enhancements planned for the new hospital.

Their hope is that these donations will inspire others to support health care in their own communities.

“Being able to be part of this project and be able to help others, especially in health care, brings joy to my heart,” said Traci.

When Traci was pregnant with their first child, she required several ultrasound scans as the baby was in breech position. Traci had an ultrasound every week for two months before their daughter, Alyssa, was born.

“As first time parents, all of this was new territory. We put a lot of faith in doctors and the equipment they were using to monitor our baby,” said Traci. “This is why investing in the new ultrasound machine is so meaningful not only to us, but to the community. Health care teams faithfully serve their patients and they need the right tools in their hands to improve the care patients receive in a safe and more efficient way.”

The new ultrasound machine has a cost of $184,930. This essential diagnostic tool will be used on thousands of patients every year at QHC PECMH. With this generous gift, PECMHF is within $45,000 of raising the funds needed for the ultrasound machine.

“We are thankful to the DiBattistas for their inspiring donations and for supporting the future of health care delivery in The County,” said Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation. “Their dedication to philanthropy and commitment to inspire others is a true reflection of their strong values of giving back and bringing our community together to provide the best possible care, close to home.”

The current hospital – which serves more than 40,000 patient visits a year – is over 60 years old and is too small to accommodate The County’s growing population.

“Our caregivers continue to provide exceptional care for patients and their families, but the aging facility is a challenging environment to work in,” said Coull.

Coull thanks the DiBattistas for being forward thinking and for investing in the health care needs of the community, for today and well into the future.

The new hospital will comprise of over 95,000 square feet of space and provide 24/7 emergency services, expanded inpatient beds, leading edge equipment, and enhanced infection control measures, all in a welcoming environment.

“On behalf of the community and all the patients who will benefit from this wonderful support, thank you to the DiBattista family for making this gift. Their generosity will be felt for decades to come,” said Dennis Darby, Back the Build campaign co-chairperson. “We can’t wait to see the new building constructed and invite the DiBattista family to view their name on the room that will be named in recognition of their generous support.”

The Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to raising funds to advance health care for the patients of the hospital and the people of Prince Edward County.