A grassroots effort is already gaining momentum to establish a Cochrane Health Foundation to improve health care in the Cochrane area, including a 24/7 Urgent Care Centre.

An inaugural meeting is being held on Tues. Oct. 18 at the St. Peter's Lutheran Church, 73 George Fox Tr. starting at 7 p.m. and features guest speaker Michelle Bates, a co-founder of the Airdrie Health Foundation.

Brian Winter, chair of the Cochrane EMS Citizens Action Group, says a 24/7 urgent care centre holds many benefits.

"If it's open 24 hours a day, EMS could transport people there, rather than take them into Calgary and get them lost in the hall wait time," explains Winter. "So basically it's a win for our group, and a win for Cochrane."

He says that's just one of the many things a foundation could accomplish.

"The goal is to provide health care for Cochrane and district, and that could be by raising money to provide equipment, to provide training for AED staff that have AEDs in their building," he says. "The gamma is open."

The Airdrie foundation successfully pushed for a 24/7 Airdrie's Urgent Care Centre. It has also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide services, equipment, and education to support the Airdrie Community Health Centre, Urgent Care, mental health, and other high-priority needs.

That foundation was established after Michelle's five-year-old son Lane suddenly became seriously ill during the night in 2009. Because Airdrie had no 24-hour emergency medical care, Michelle and her husband Jeff couldn't access the necessary medical help in time to save their son.  

A year after his passing, the Bates family was again in need of medical care in the middle of the night for one of their daughters. This time they needed to travel to the Didsbury hospital in a massive snowstorm at night.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all Cochranites, business leaders, politicians, and service groups that want to help provide the best health care possible for the area.

Winter says they will seek volunteers to form the Cochrane Health Foundation Board of Trustees, including community members and local healthcare professionals.

Other goals would be registering the foundation as a charitable organization and raising funds for health and wellness priorities.