Report from Health Sciences Foundation

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Dave Knutson Report from Board of Directors
Dave Knutson

THUNDER BAY – Health – February is a special time for our Foundation.  For each of the last 16 years the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic has warmed the hearts of curlers throughout our region.  This phenomenal group of women gather for a weekend bonspiel that goes far beyond curling. 

Thunder Bay Health Sciences Foundation

There are auctions, raffles, specially themed evenings and that’s before the costumes and other props are brought out! The event organizing committee is passionate about raising funds in support of breast cancer patients and their families throughout Northwestern Ontario and the contributions by the local business sponsors are exemplary.

Their collective, continued, support of the Northern Cancer Fund, focused on breast cancer awareness, prevention and treatment, is nothing short of awe-inspiring.  I was very honoured to have been a part of the closing ceremonies this past Sunday, in the event’s 17th year. 

It was a chance to experience the palpable excitement as we celebrated what was another amazing contribution to cancer care in our region.   The committee was pleased to announce that, next year, the event will take place from February 7 to 9.

Special events like the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic are made possible by dedicated volunteers.  In addition to volunteers, the work of the Foundation is supported by placement students (currently from Confederation College’s Business Marketing program) and a new Social Media Intern, graciously funded in part by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.  

Our Foundation has been fortunate to receive funding for several interns.  Nearly all were offered full-time employment at the end of their internship.  Some remain with us, while others have moved on to pursue further education and career opportunities.  I look forward to sharing more details with you as these new members join the organization.

As a board of directors, we are also volunteers and we share the passion of all who give, both their time and money, to achieve the mission of the Foundation.  We’re part of your Health Sciences Foundation because we know the difference donations make to healthcare that benefits the community, our families and friends. 

The staff of the Health Sciences Centre are consummate professionals and we are proud to put the tools they need to do the best work possible in their hands. The new linear accelerator at Regional Cancer Care Northwest is just one example of how we all work together to make world-class patient care possible here. 

This new machine will improve care and drive forward leading-edge technology.  Its installation is truly something to celebrate and the Foundation is so proud to be a part of this step forward in care at the Health Sciences Centre. 

Your support throughout the year, but especially during the month of February, has also ensured that the latest cardiac care equipment is available to treat patients, both during acute care and in rehabilitation.  For instance, donors have funded an advanced intravascular ultrasound device which allows our cardiologists to examine the inside of an artery and assess blockages more accurately, especially when plaques are asymmetrical.  It is also used to assess stents that have already been inserted and to determine whether they have expanded properly.

We are also hoping, with your continued support, to create a heart surgery program at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and expand our diagnostic capabilities to include electrophysiology studies for patients with heart rhythm abnormalities.  All of these advancements will mean that seriously ill patients can remain here in Northwestern Ontario to receive care close to home. 

On behalf of the Board of Directors, thank you for supporting world-class healthcare.

Dave Knutson

Board Chair – Thunder Bay Health Sciences Foundation

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