By Heather Vita
THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – The need for new medical equipment at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is constant, and it is thanks to donors that we’re able to provide the critical pieces needed for world-class healthcare.
Currently the Lions Vision Care Centre at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is in need of a Retinal Imaging Camera; a specialized piece of equipment that allows ophthalmologists to properly see and monitor damage to retinas, caused by a variety of medical conditions, including diabetes. This Camera comes at a cost of $120,000.
The Lions Clubs have always been very supportive of ophthalmology needs at the Health Sciences Centre, having already given $775,056 since 1998. Today, they announced gifts totaling $20,500 to the Retinal Imaging Camera (from the Dryden Lions Club, the Thunder Bay Metro Lions and the Lions Eye Bank of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario) and hope their gifts will inspire others in our community to make a gift themselves. Already inspired and joining the Lions in their generosity are the Royal Canadian Legion – Fort William Polish Veterans Branch 149 and the Royal Canadian Legion – Slovak Branch 129; each of whom made a gift of $2,500 to the Camera.
“As Lions, we were challenged by Helen Keller to be the ‘Knights of the Blind’ and our ongoing fundraising and support for the Lions Vision Care Centre is one way we are serving our community in that capacity,” said Angela Sharbot, Advisory Board Chair, Lions Vision Care Centre. “I’m proud we’ve been able to garner support from multiple Lions Clubs for this project and that other groups, including the Royal Canadian Legion Branches, have also taken it upon themselves to make gifts, and for that I’m very thankful.”
“There is a significant need in our community for eyecare and I’m very grateful that the Lions Clubs and Royal Canadian Legion Branches have provided such leadership in funding the equipment we require to take care of thousands of patients each year,” said Dr. Leland Dhurjon, Ophthalmologist, Lions Vision Care Centre at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. “With this new Camera, I’ll be able to view almost double the area of the retina that can be viewed with our current camera. This new treatment will also require no dilation, contact lenses or pressure on the eye.”
Dawn MacDonald, Manager, Ambulatory Care at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre stressed the importance of the new Retinal Imaging Camera to the Lions Vision Care Centre. “Currently, patients requiring the type of imaging provided by this Camera have to travel to Southern Ontario or Winnipeg, often making the trip every 6 months for ongoing diagnostic and monitoring of their eye condition. So we are aiming for less travel, more comfort, and shorter visits, while providing quality evidence-based care; all a win-win situation.”
Fin Sellick, a patient at the Lions Vision Care Centre remarked, “I have received excellent professional eye-care at the Lions Vision Care Centre here in our local hospital, and am grateful that this service is available for individuals here and in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. It eliminates the high costs of travelling to Toronto for treatment. My husband Burt and I are pleased to support the Fundraising Campaign for the Retinal Imaging Camera for use in our Regional Hospital.”
“The long-standing commitment from the Lions Clubs to this cause is remarkable,” said Jody Nesti, Chair, Board of Directors, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. “They show true leadership and vision in giving for the needed equipment at the Lions Vision Care Centre. The additional gifts from the Royal Canadian Legion Branches, as well as the Sellicks, are a wonderful example of the giving nature of our community. I urge those who have yet to make a gift to this new Camera to do so right away. You may have already received a letter in the mail with a story from Dr. Dhurjon; please take the time to read it and make your own gift. Together, we can give the gift of sight.”
Gifts to the Retinal Imaging Camera can be made:
By phone: (807) 345-4673
By mail: c/o Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation,
980 Oliver Rd. Thunder Bay, ON P7B 6V4
In Person: At the Donation Centre inside the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre