British Columbia

Richmond Hospital receives record $25M donation from retired local doctor, families

A retired family doctor who paid his way through medical school by working in Richmond's shingle mills and canneries is now giving back to the community with a record donation.

Donation will help fund construction of a new acute care building

Dr. Tony Yurkovich and Nancy Yurkovich announce their donation to the Richmond Hospital Foundation on Friday, Feb. 3. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

A retired family doctor who paid his way through medical school by working in Richmond's shingle mills and canneries is now giving back to the community with a record donation.

Dr. Tony Yurkovich and Nancy Yurkovich joined with more than 10 families and organizations to pledge $25 million toward a new acute care building at Richmond Hospital. 

"Nancy and I are grateful that we can be the impetus for this initiative, helping the hospital be the best it can, be it now and in the future," said Dr. Yurkovich, speaking at the hospital in Richmond on Friday.

The $25-million donation is the single largest gift in the history of Richmond Hospital Foundation.

'Humble and modest'

Rick Ilich with the Richmond Hospital Foundation describes the Yurkovichs as "humble and modest [in] nature" and said they don't want to share how much they personally donated.

"Having had the foresight to invest in some property just off of No. 3 Road, which was recently sold, Tony and Nancy decided that they wanted to share their good fortune to benefit the others in the community that they so cherish."

In honour of their donation, the new acute centre tower will be named the Yurkovich Family Pavilion.

The Yurkovichs had attended the officially opening in 1966 of the original tower, which now in need of replacement.

Speaking at a press conference announcing the donation, Nancy Yurkovich said Richmond is undergoing a lot of change, and said that having a feeling of community is more important than ever before.

"I understand that within this hospital there is a true sense of community. It's a busy place with a variety of individuals and jobs but there is a feeling that collectively they are creating something bigger than they can accomplish alone," she said.

"They're serving the health needs of the citizens of Richmond, and at one time or another we might need the help, skill and compassion of the people that work here."

Dr. Yurkovich practiced family medicine in Richmond for over four decades. He was a first generation Canadian whose mother immigrated from Croatia. He met Nancy, a registered nurse who moved to B.C. from Ontario, while working in the same hospital.

"Their own story is a Canadian story and a typical Richmond story," Illich said.

The first phase of planning for the acute care tower was approved by the province in June 2016.