THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – “We have exceptional cancer care, right here, right now, thanks to you!” said Paul Fitzpatrick, Chair, Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign, as the campaign total was unveiled this afternoon in front of hundreds of donors and staff at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
Continued Fitzpatrick, “Thanks to you, we have ensured that each person who walks through the doors of our Cancer Centre will have the confidence that they will have access to the very best equipment to find and treat their disease. They’ll know that research is continuing to ensure the next generation of equipment is even better.”
Launched in October 2013, the goal of the Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign was to bring exceptional cancer care to Northwestern Ontario, through the goals laid out in Regional Cancer Care’s 4-year Cancer Plan. To achieve the plan, an investment of $32+ million was required, with a portion of funds coming from the community. This afternoon, it was announced that, through the generosity of donors, $7,054,963 was raised (and counting), exceeding the original goal of $5.9 million.
“Thank you for joining me in a vision for Exceptional Cancer Care – together we gave much more than money – we gave HOPE to our families, friends and neighbours who are facing this dreaded disease, by putting state-of-the-art equipment in the hands of our cancer care professionals,” remarked Dr. Mark Henderson, Executive Vice President, Patient Services, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Regional Vice President, Cancer Care Ontario. “Patients now have the highest-quality care, the best possible experience and the latest innovations in cancer care.”
As a direct result of gifts to the campaign, residents of Northwestern Ontario now have access to:
– An Integrated Cancer Screening Coach that travels across the region providing screening for breast, colorectal and cervical cancers
– Two state-of-the-art Linear Accelerators for precise radiation therapy
– Brand new Chemotherapy Chairs and Equipment at 14 cancer care sites across the region where chemotherapy is provided, allowing patients to stay in their home communities as much as possible
– Surgical Oncology Equipment for enhanced cancer screening and treatment
– An Incredible Cyclotron that will provide radioactive isotopes for current medical imaging (PET scans) and for research to develop new imaging agents for cancer
– Our First MicroPET scanner to test new imaging agents in rodents, prior to human clinical trials for new cancer therapies
– An Electronic Medical Record that connects each cancer care hospital in Northwestern Ontario, allowing all care providers access to decision-making tools and clinical information to deliver safe, timely and effective patient care
“Today, I stand here, cancer-free because of the exceptional care and treatment I received,” said Shawn Christie, Cancer Survivor. The generous support of donors to the Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign has made sure that people like me have access to state-of-the-art care here in Thunder Bay. And you will hear so many people talk about the importance of close-to-home care. Let me echo those remarks. Having my treatment here meant I could continue to spend time with my family, my friends, and most importantly my three children. Thank you so much for keeping our Cancer Centre at the forefront of cancer care technology and giving each patient that begins a cancer journey incredible hope for the future.”
One piece of equipment that promises to bring radical change to cancer care is the Cyclotron, which was installed in the Health Services Centre on February 10. Leading the charge to raise funds for this formidable equipment was The Paterson Foundation, who announced on March 10 that they would match all donations to the Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign prior to April 26, up to a committed total of $500,000. Donald Paterson, the President of The Paterson Foundation was on hand at the celebration this afternoon and was humbled and amazed by the support of the community towards the challenge. “I’m pleased to announce that a total of $554,063 was donated since March 10 and The Paterson Foundation is delighted to match those gifts with our donation of $500,000. Together, we achieved our goal of raising $1 million to activate the Cyclotron!”
“The Paterson Foundation was instrumental in helping inspire our community to make exceptional cancer care possible,” remarked Fitzpatrick. “They are true leaders and continue their family’s tradition of bringing revolutionary, close-to-home cancer care to Northwestern Ontario.”
Added Fitzpatrick, “I thank the many donors who have come forward in these past few weeks, and throughout this entire campaign. You have shown that our community can have exceptional healthcare and when we dream together, we can accomplish incredible advancements in care for each person who faces a cancer diagnosis.”