Gary and Leslie Savitsky Double All Donations to Local Cancer Care in April
Published Monday, April 18, 2022
by Graham Strong
Gary and Leslie Savitsky are committed to making sure we all have the best cancer care possible, right here in Northwestern Ontario. And they’re prepared to match your donation dollar for dollar to reach that goal.
The Savitskys know firsthand how difficult it is to travel out of the region for healthcare. When Gary’s mother travelled to Winnipeg for eye surgery, the logistics of packing oxygen and ensuring she was comfortable during the long, arduous trip were overwhelming.
That was one procedure, travelling there and back. So when Gary’s mother had to undergo multiple radiation treatments for cancer, they were glad she could get the care she needed, right here in Thunder Bay.
“She gets anxious leaving home and can’t sit in one place for long,” Gary said. “Planning out everything for that one appointment was difficult enough. I can’t even think what it would be like for her to have to travel like that for cancer care. Luckily, she didn’t have to.”
And, as Leslie pointed out, travelling for cancer care isn’t only hard on the patient. “It’s difficult for family members, too,” she said. There is the caregiver – and usually, it’s only one – who is responsible for everything from making travel arrangements and finding hotels to navigating the streets of a foreign city. They have to be on 24/7 trying to make sure their loved ones have everything they need.
“It’s not easy for the family left back at home, either,” Leslie said. “Facetime and phone calls don’t replace being there – there’s no such thing as a virtual hug. Everyone feels so disjointed and out of touch.”
Of course, the Savitsky’s are not alone. Anyone who has had to leave their home for cancer care knows how difficult it can be – for patients and their families. Sometimes it can’t be avoided. But the Savitskys believe – as many in the region believe – that we should do everything we can to ensure we have the cancer care programs we need, right here in Northwestern Ontario.
“We see a future where we don’t need the Cancer Centre anymore,” Gary said. “But until then, wouldn’t it be amazing if people said, ‘I’m travelling to Thunder Bay because that’s the best place to get cancer care’?”
“We believe that time is here already, actually,” Leslie said. “The care Gary’s mother received from Dr. (Marlon) Hagerty was incredible. He truly went above and beyond, as did all the staff at the Cancer Centre.”
Regional Cancer Care at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre provides a number of homegrown programs to ensure closer-to-home care. Almost all adult cancers can be treated here. The Cancer Centre also supports a number of programs throughout the region such as chemotherapy at local hospitals to reduce the need to travel from their home communities.
The Savitskys want to inspire others to help support local cancer care by donating up to $10,000 in matching funds. For every dollar you donate to local cancer care in April, they will double it. That means your gift this month is worth twice as much.
“We want to give back,” Gary said. “We want to make sure that everyone who needs cancer care in Northwestern Ontario can get cancer care in Northwestern Ontario, closer to home.”
The Savitskys invite everyone to help support Regional Cancer Care together. Make your donation by calling 807-345-HOPE (4673) or donate online at healthsciencesfoundation.ca/double-my-gift and they will double your gift in April.