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Thunder Bay Safeway employees recently toured the Cardiac Rehabilitation gym – part of TBRHSC’s Rehabilitation and Healthy Lifestyles program. Through the Safeway Employee Payroll Donation program, Safeway employees made a gift of $16,303.49 to support the development of a new website for the Rehabilitation and Healthy Lifestyles program, along with support for the WE-Can (Wellness and Exercise for Individuals Living with Cancer) program. In the past decade, Safeway has invested over $100,000 at the Health Sciences Centre.
Thunder Bay Safeway employees recently toured the Cardiac Rehabilitation gym – part of TBRHSC’s Rehabilitation and Healthy Lifestyles program. Through the Safeway Employee Payroll Donation program, Safeway employees made a gift of $16,303.49 to support the development of a new website for the Rehabilitation and Healthy Lifestyles program, along with support for the WE-Can (Wellness and Exercise for Individuals Living with Cancer) program. In the past decade, Safeway has invested over $100,000 at the Health Sciences Centre.
Thunder Bay Safeway employees recently toured the Cardiac Rehabilitation gym – part of TBRHSC’s Rehabilitation and Healthy Lifestyles program. Through the Safeway Employee Payroll Donation program, Safeway employees made a gift of $16,303.49 to support the development of a new website for the Rehabilitation and Healthy Lifestyles program, along with support for the WE-Can (Wellness and Exercise for Individuals Living with Cancer) program. In the past decade, Safeway has invested over $100,000 at the Health Sciences Centre.
Thunder Bay Safeway employees recently toured the Cardiac Rehabilitation gym – part of TBRHSC’s Rehabilitation and Healthy Lifestyles program. Through the Safeway Employee Payroll Donation program, Safeway employees made a gift of $16,303.49 to support the development of a new website for the Rehabilitation and Healthy Lifestyles program, along with support for the WE-Can (Wellness and Exercise for Individuals Living with Cancer) program. In the past decade, Safeway has invested over $100,000 at the Health Sciences Centre.

Safeway Employees Improving Cancer and Cardiac Care Programs in Northwestern Ontario

THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – “We have the second highest rate of heart disease in Ontario,” said Kyle Baysarowich, Coordinator, Rehabilitation and Healthy Lifestyles Program at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC). “Unfortunately, for people who live in Northwestern Ontario, there is a higher burden of disease, which makes programs like our Rehabilitation and Healthy Lifestyles program vitally important. With the resources we offer, we can make a real difference to people’s quality of life.”

Included within the program are exercise, education, individual counseling, as well as family counseling. “Of major importance is our ability to connect with people across Northwestern Ontario, not just in Thunder Bay,” said Baysarowich. “In fact, we offer the program at 11 sites across the region, through telemedicine. We even have people participating in exercise classes this way – it’s a win-win. They don’t have to leave their home community, and we can still offer the same quality program that’s available for people in Thunder Bay.”

In one year, the Rehabilitation and Healthy Lifestyles program sees about 550 people, 150 of whom come from outside of Thunder Bay. “Access to technology that allows us to connect is imperative,” stressed Baysarowich. “That’s why we’re so excited to announce that we’re launching a new, interactive website that will be a portal for patients, allowing them to input information and receive feedback to monitor their recovery.”

Funded through a donation made by Safeway employees, the site will greatly enhance the experience for people participating in the program. “I can’t express how grateful we are for this donation,” an emotional Baysarowich said to a group of Safeway employees who came to tour the Cardiac Rehabilitation space located in the new medical building at 1040 Oliver Rd. “Thank you just doesn’t do it.”

Also supported through the Safeway donation is the WE-Can (Wellness and Exercise for Individuals Living with Cancer) program. Since its inception in 2009, the WE-Can program has provided a formal, guided exercise program for participants who are either in active cancer treatment or up to five years post-treatment. With a focus on exercise and healthy living, the program runs twice a week for 10 weeks at the City of Thunder Bay’s Canada Games Complex. “Cancer is becoming a chronic disease because people are living longer,” said Kelly-Jo Gillis, Manager, Preventive Health Services, TBRHSC. “There is a compelling amount of evidence supporting the benefits of physical activity for individuals living with cancer. Our evaluation of the WE-Can program has shown significant improvements in participants, which includes increased physical functioning, decreased fatigue, and improved quality of life for those in treatment as well as post-treatment.”

Initially funded through the Ministry for Health Promotion and Sport, the program now relies completely on donations. “We only accept a maximum of twelve participants per session,” said Gillis, “because we want to ensure each participant is monitored closely and gets maximum attention from their instructors. In fact, our ratio is 1 instructor to 3 participants, making the program quite resource intensive, so we’re limited to running the sessions twice a year.”

Gillis drove home the significance of the donation from Safeway. “It’s thanks to the donation we received from Safeway that we were able to offer a WE-Can session this fall,” she said. “There are people benefiting from your generosity right now and I can tell you, they love this program. Most of our former participants don’t want the program to end; it’s that impactful.”

“Our employees are incredible and they go out of their way to help their communities,” said Natalina Porpiglia-Dafnis, Public Affairs Coordinator, Safeway. “Thanks to their donations, we’ve recently made a gift of $16,303.49 to support the development of the Rehabilitation and Healthy Lifestyles program website, along with costs associated with the WE-Can program for cancer patients. For the past 85 years, Safeway has been investing in our communities across Western Canada, and last year, Safeway employees across the west donated $1 million through the Safeway Employee Payroll Donation program that supports cancer programs, heart and children’s health causes.

Continued Porpiglia-Dafnis, “It’s very rewarding for us to partner with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre because the advancements being made in cardiac and cancer care services here are very evident. In the last decade, Safeway has invested over $100,000 at the Health Sciences Centre, and that’s something that our entire team is proud to share.”

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