WINCHESTER – Tom and Jan Clapp’s connection to Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH), and the region’s healthcare scene, can be counted by decades.

Tom and Jan Clapp are the honourary chairs of this year’s Winchester District Memorial Hospital Foundation gala. Press Photo – Uhrig

When the couple first arrived in the region in the early 1970s, Jan was the first Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) representative in Dundas County. She still remembers her small office near the medical facility’s emergency area.

The pair’s three children, Chris, Catie and Tim, were born at WDMH and Tom was one of the first of countless local husbands to be given access to the delivery room thanks to a change to archaic protocol.

The entire Clapp family have made use of the hospital’s services through the years, and when Tom was diagnosed with prostate cancer, successfully beating back the disease, he and other survivors vowed to give back.

This led to the creation of the Eastern Ontario Prostate Cancer Awareness Committee, raising needed funds for WDMH, with north of $100,000 generated through the Dare to Flash A ’Stache campaign.

Jan, meanwhile, was on the founding board of directors for the Dundas County Hospice, and now serves among the directors for Dundas Manor, planning for the future of the village’s long-term care home.

These achievements alone made the couple an ideal choice for the honourary chairs of this year’s WDMH Foundation gala, set for Sat., June 16 at the Joel Steele Community Centre in Winchester. This year’s theme is disco, with visions of Saturday Night Fever in the organizers minds.

“We hope everyone can join us at the gala,” Tom said. “This is a wonderful community, and WDMH is not the hospital, it is our hospital. We all need to support it.”

Added Jan: “We wanted a place for our kids to grow up and have roots, and Winchester has been that place. We are very blessed.”

Gala proceeds will be directed toward the foundation’s Family Care Fund, support care for families throughout the hospital’s catchment area.

“Many people are not aware that our tax dollars do not fund everything that a hospital needs. This event is one of the many ways we are raising money to help ensure compassionate, excellent healthcare,” Kristen Casselman, the foundation’s managing director, said. “We are so excited to have Tom and Jan on board… They are truly committed to their community, and their local hospital.”    

The gala’s organizing committee continues to plan for the June event, arranging a night of disco dancing complimented by good food, live and silent auctions, a 50-50 contest, 1970s-themed games, a photobooth and more.

Tickets, $125 each, are available now. Contact the foundation office at 613-774-2422 extension 6162 for details.