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New lung clinic to be named after Nelson Kinney

Fundraising for the Prince Rupert clinic is only $2,750 shy of its $20,000 goal
The Islander Hall Society chairman Terry Sawka (middle) presented $9,000 to hospital administrator Heidi John and hospital chief of Staff Dr. Gillaume Coetzee. (Judy Fraser photo)

At the last North Coast Regional District meeting he attended, Nelson Kinney was advocating for a drop-in COPD clinic. Since his passing, Rupertites have taken up the cause.

The long-time councillor had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and at the time of the March 23 meeting, he had spent the last month in the hospital.

“As I’ve been in the hospital for over a month, I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll do work behind the scenes — I’m going to have to’,” Kinney said at the meeting. He spoke with every doctor in the hospital during his stay. His plans for a clinic included having an evening session two times a month to learn about life after a COPD diagnosis.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert’s “pulse” Nelson Kinney passes away

“Prince George has one, Smithers is starting one,” he said, noting that $1.5 billion was spent on COPD cases alone in Canada last year.

“There is life, until the end. And by Jesus, I’m going to prove that we can do it here in Prince Rupert,” Kinney said.

Longtime Prince Rupert councillor Nelson Kinney passed away in March 2018. (File photo / The Northern View)

He passed away shortly after the March 23 meeting.

Longtime friend Judy Fraser said she took up Kinney’s cause after reading about his wishes in the Northern View. With permission from his family, Fraser started working with the hospital to realize his dream.

The campaign to raise $20,000 for the clinic — to be named the Nelson Kinney Memorial Lung Clinic — was kicked off with a $9,000-donation from the Islander Hall Society.

That donation was nearly matched at the July 23 Prince Rupert city council meeting when council voted to give Kinney’s remaining honorarium to the clinic.

“I think that’s a really fitting memorial. I certainly think that Nelson would have liked to have done that,” councillor Joy Thorkelson said. “I think that this clinic will really help people in Prince Rupert and hopefully all throughout the North Coast.”

With the $8,246.96 honorarium, the clinic only needs $2,753.04 to meet its $20,000 goal.

Of the work he did to advocate for a lung clinic in Prince Rupert, Kinney said, “That’s my gift back to the hospital and all of the staff. They’ve been so great with me.”

Donations can be sent to the North Coast Health Improvement Society’s P.O. Box 326, Prince Rupert, V8J 3P9. Donors can also contact Judy Fraser by email at

READ MORE: North Coast Regional District boardroom renamed in honour of late councillor

With files from Andrew Hudson.

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