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2016 Media Releases

Winner Takes Home $17,380 in Sold Out Intercity Shopping Centre 50/50 Cash Draw (Dec 22, 2016)

Patti Poole from Thunder Bay got an early Christmas gift today. This afternoon, at Intercity Shopping Centre, she was announced as the winner of $17,380 in this year’s sold-out Intercity Shopping Centre 50/50 Cash Draw (Ticket No. 2231). Altogether, 10,000 tickets were sold.

This was the 17th year of the Intercity Shopping Centre 50/50 Cash Draw. Altogether, the draw has raised $179,715 – all to support world-class patient and family centred care for the people of our community. Funds from this year’s draw ($17,380) will support the Northern Cardiac Fund as well as the WE-CAN (Wellness and Exercise for Individuals Living with Cancer) Program. The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and Intercity Shopping Centre wish to thank all who took time to purchase tickets this year, and to thank the multiple volunteers who made this draw possible once again.



#GivingTuesday Kicks Off Christmas Wish List Campaign (Nov 29, 2016)

#GivingTuesday is an international day of giving, taking place directly after the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s a day where people rally behind and support their favourite causes.

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation used the excitement of the day to kick off their annual Christmas Wish List fundraising campaign, that includes 10 pieces of vital medical equipment for the Hospital. Totaling $107,546, the Wish List includes a Fetal Telemetry Monitor for Labour and Delivery, a set of Sinoscopy Instruments for the Operating Room, an Intracranial Pressure Monitor for the Intensive Care Unit and six Vital Signs Monitors for use in departments across the Hospital.

Chair, Board of Directors of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, Jody Nesti commented on why #GivingTuesday was chosen to kick start the Wish List campaign this year. “Our donors are incredibly generous all year long, but especially at Christmas. We wanted to build on their generosity and so we’ve challenged our community to help us cross one of the items off our Wish List today. We’re looking to raise $5,079 by midnight tonight so we can purchase 1 of the 6 Vital Signs Monitors on our list.”

Continued Nesti, “A couple of our donors graciously agreed to come on board to help us achieve our goal. It is my utmost pleasure to announce that KEM Construction and Hilary Kaszor have agreed to match all donations made on #GivingTuesday, up to a maximum of $3,000, to help us get to our goal of a new Vital Signs Monitor.”

To ensure gifts are received by the deadline of midnight Nov 29 to take advantage of dollar-for-dollar matching, there are a multitude of ways to give.

Donate online at
In person at the Donation Centre next to Robin’s Donuts inside the Hospital
By phone at (807) 345-4673
By text: Text VITAL to 20222 to make a $10 donation.

The importance of Vital Signs Monitors to the Hospital cannot be understated. Craig Kozlowski, a Clinical Nurse Specialist with the Cardiovascular and Stroke Program explained, “One Nurse on a day shift can be using this somewhere around 15 times per day, and in the Emergency Department it could be up to 36 to 40 times. This isn't even when their patients are critically ill, this is just our routine care. The data from these Monitors ensures we can get treatments into the patient to help save their life quickly; whether we need to get them IV fluids, put in oxygen, or other measures.”

One patient who has benefitted from having access to Vital Signs Monitors is Mona Hardy. “I really appreciate the care I’ve been provided at the Hospital and I’m comforted to know that Vital Signs Monitors are available as part of my care,” she said.

“Countless patients and families count on the generosity of donors to ensure we have the very best medical equipment so we can have care close to home,” said Amanda Bjorn, Vice President, Human Resources, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. “While staying close to home is important all year long, I’m sure you will agree that being home, surrounded by loved ones at Christmas is what we all yearn for, and with your donations today, you’re helping make that possible.”

Donations to any item on the Christmas Wish List will be gratefully accepted starting today and throughout the entire month of December. Gifts made now provide the best gift of all – the gift of time together.  


Donors Enhance Patient Care Through New Equipment in Laboratory (Nov 23, 2016)

Polymerase Chain Reaction testing, known more commonly as ‘PCR’, is a remarkable, gene-based technology that is quickly becoming the new standard in medical laboratory analysis of infections. At the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, this technology was recently implemented thanks to a grant of $79,474 from the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation that was funded by the generosity of donors in our community.

In particular, the PCR equipment (known as the GeneXpert) is used to assess patients suspected with antibiotic-resistant infections caused by the organisms MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci). Patients carrying these organisms must be placed in isolation to minimize the risk of transmission. Approximately 700 patients a year are placed in isolation for this sole reason.

The GeneXpert has been in place since April, and already, improvements are being seen in patient care. “With PCR testing, we can avoid isolating patients, thus improving the experience of care. This is always our priority as leaders in Patient and Family Centred Care,” said Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, Executive Vice President, Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive at the Hospital. “In addition, PCR can provide financial savings that can be reinvested into the areas that need it most. We are grateful to the generous donors who have made this possible.”

Patient care improvements are always front and centre and Georgia Carr, Manager, Clinical Lab, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre explained, “The GeneXpert provides us with the opportunity to provide a result that previously took 2 to 5 days in as little as 1 hour, dramatically reducing the time to test and allowing decisions to be made right away in the best interest of the patient.” Added Wendy Gouliquer, Clinical Coordinator, Microbiology, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, “With this new equipment, we also have the opportunity to provide a higher quality of result by detecting smaller amounts of bacteria than previously detected.”

Hilary McIver, Manager, Infection Control and Risk Management, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre further explained, “The GeneXpert allows for rapid and highly specific diagnosis of infectious diseases.  We are just at the infancy stages of using this machine in the treatment of our patients. The high sensitivity of the PCR permits virus detection soon after infection and even before the onset of the disease.  This early detection may give our health care providers a significant lead time in treatment. We have seen great savings in the length of time our patients must reside in isolation due to MRSA and VRE colonization.” 

Funding for the GeneXpert was made possible thanks to donors like Graham Post, who discussed his family’s reason for giving. “We are grateful for the services and care provided to us by the Health Sciences Centre. We donate to help keep our facility up-to-date so the residents of the region can access the best possible care.”

“We are extremely grateful for donors like the Posts and so many others who choose to give unrestricted gifts to the Health Sciences Foundation,” said Jody Nesti, Chair, Board of Directors, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. “This allows us to distribute funds to priority areas as identified by the Health Sciences Centre. As you have heard, even though the PCR equipment is not seen by patients and families, it has a very important role to play in improving patients’ experiences, specifically by removing them from isolation if not required. We’re delighted that it has resulted in such dramatic improvements to patient care.”


Up to $25,000 Up for Grabs in Time for the Holidays (Nov 2, 2016)

Today marked the first day of the 17th Annual Intercity Shopping Centre 50/50 Cash Draw.  In the past sixteen years, the event has raised $162,335 to advance health care at our Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC). 100% of the funds remain in Northwestern Ontario to support world-class patient and family centred care for the people of our community. 

Once again this year, the jackpot is incredible, especially when you consider the price of tickets. One lucky winner will take home up to $25,000 in cash, just in time for Christmas.

From November 2 until December 22 (or until tickets are sold out, whichever comes sooner) tickets will be available at Intercity Shopping Centre and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation office (in the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre).  Tickets are $5 each or 3 for $10 and may not be purchased by, or on behalf of persons under the age of 18.

Last year tickets sold out by mid December so organizers are encouraging people to buy tickets right away.

Proceeds from this year’s draw will support the Northern Cardiac Fund as we continue to enhance our cardiac care program in advance of bringing full cardiovascular surgery to Thunder Bay. Additionally funds will support the well-attended WE-Can Program (Wellness and Exercise for Individuals Living with Cancer).

This year’s Intercity Shopping Centre 50/50 Cash Draw will be held on Tuesday, December 22, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.  Ticket holders do not have to be present to win.  



Need for Retinal Imaging Camera Inspires Community to Give (Nov 1, 2016)

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. 

“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.” 

Link to make a gift:


Finding Your 'Twinkle' Encouraged at 24th Annual Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope (Oct 7, 2016)

First diagnosed with breast cancer at age 43, and again twice after that, Becky Olson is no stranger to facing her own mortality. With her most recent diagnosis in 2009, Olson was told her cancer was ‘consistent with metastatic disease’; a scary situation.

Olson channeled her experiences and re-examined her life, trying to figure out for what she wanted to be remembered; as it turns out, being a good Mom topped her list. She turned to three things in her multiple breast cancer journeys – humour, happiness and hope – which she shared with guests at the 24th Annual Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope, held today at the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre.

“Cancer is scary, there’s no doubt about it,” said Olson, “but, it doesn’t mean we can’t find funny moments throughout it. Those lighthearted moments are what get us through, pull us out of our funk and keep us going.” Olson also talked about finding one’s ‘twinkle’. “You never know what tomorrow’s going to bring, so get out and do what you love now,” she encouraged guests. Finally, “never give up hope, no matter what the statistics say,” she said.

The Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope continues to be an important event in our community, raising funds specifically for breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and research. Jody Nesti, Chair, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and breast cancer survivor said, “This event has morphed throughout its 24-year history, from an awareness-based event to one that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local breast cancer care. Women more than ever are being pro-active about their health and are aware of the importance of screening for breast cancer. Thanks to this event and the support of donors across Northwestern Ontario, we are making a difference and creating a community of more and more survivors.”


Donors Fund Over $100,000 in New Equipment for Operating Room (July 5, 2016)

The Operating Room at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is an area most people have never seen, but is one of the busiest areas in the building. With over 15,000 cases done annually, there is a critical need for up-to-date equipment to ensure each patient receives high-quality care.

Today, it was announced that $109,806 was granted through the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, thanks to the generosity of donors, to provide enhancements to equipment within the Operating Room.

Chief of Surgery at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Board Director, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, Dr. Mark Thibert made the announcement, stating, “Our Operating Room is one of the most advanced in the province and patients can feel very confident in the quality of care they receive here. This funding provides the opportunity to enhance the care we currently provide and ensures we are well-positioned to meet future surgical needs.”

 Items funded were:

  • 5 new anesthesia care machines ($96,717)

  • 1 skin graft mesher ($5,000)

  • 1 TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate) instrument set ($8,089)


Roaring to Fight Prostate Cancer (June 18, 2016)

The simultaneous roar of 207 motorcycles this morning at 9:30 a.m. marked the continuing fight against prostate cancer. On this date, prostate cancer in Northwestern Ontario took another hit from the 283 participants in the 16th annual Motorcycle Ride for Dad, presented by Tbaytel.

"We are extremely proud to be partnering with the Health Sciences Foundation this year to present the Motorcycle Ride for Dad," said Tbaytel President and CEO, Dan Topatigh. "At Tbaytel we look for unique and meaningful opportunities to support community initiatives that make a tangible difference and the Motorcycle Ride for Dad, which is now entering into its 16th successful year, is definitely no exception."  

Thunder Bay’s most popular motorcycle event continued to make a significant difference for prostate cancer care and research in Northwestern Ontario. This year’s event raised $47,171, bringing the sixteen-year total to $948,105. “What better way is there to celebrate Father’s Day than by raising funds to ensure our fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles have the best opportunity to survive prostate cancer,” said Glenn Craig, President and CEO of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. 


'Queens' Take to the Links to Celebrate 10 Years at the Re/Max Queen of Hearts Ladies Golf Classic (June 15, 2016)

No diamonds were gifted yesterday during the 10th Anniversary of the Re/Max Queen of Hearts Ladies Golf Classic; but perhaps even better, $18,573 was given to the cardiovascular program at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre through the Northern Cardiac Fund, thanks to proceeds from this event. In its 10-year history, this event has raised $208,831 for world-class cardiac care, including 24/7 angioplasty, in Thunder Bay.

Women packed up their golf clubs and took advantage of the beautiful golf facilities at Whitewater Golf Course, for the all-ladies golf tournament. Some even chose to colour co-ordinate team outfits; highlights were Team Dougall Media with their bright orange socks, Team Mitshi Chicks with their black shirts and red pants, and Team Stosic who sported maple leafs all over. Each ‘Queen’ was pampered throughout the day and enjoyed many different contests, as well as a deck party to finish off the afternoon, where the sun almost managed to poke through the ever-present clouds.

“Each ‘Queen’ got the royal treatment, all while participating in an extremely important event to raise funds for cardiac care in our community,” said Nancy Tegola, Committee member.  “This tournament is a lot of fun,” continued Tegola. “Underlying the fun, however, is the reason why we’re all here, and that’s to ensure that funds are available to purchase new, leading-edge equipment so that we have access to life-saving cardiac care here in Northwestern Ontario.”


Winners of #TeamStaal2016 Announced (June 10, 2016)

It has been one of this Spring’s most talked about events across Northwestern Ontario. Today, organizers with the Northern Cancer Fund of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation were delighted to recognize the efforts of 20 kids who did an exceptional job fundraising to earn a spot on #TeamStaal2016. As of today, $44,181 was raised for the Northern Cancer Fund; an amount that far surpassed expectation.

The top 3 fundraisers as of this morning at 9 a.m. were guaranteed a spot on #TeamStaal2016.
They are:
Thomas Stadey, who raised $6508.50
Steven Stadey, who raised $6508.50
R.J. MacMinn, who raised $6425.

The two remaining spots on #TeamStaal2016 were randomly drawn this afternoon at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and broadcast live on the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation’s Facebook page, The remaining 17 contestants earned ballots for each $20 they raised.

The final two players on #TeamStaal2016 are:
Jackson Elliott, who raised $5959
William Seaberg, who raised $3240.70


Bombardier Charity Walk Launches (June 3, 2016)

Standing on the 18th green at the prestigious Whitewater Golf Club, representatives from the Staal Foundation Open  presented by Tbaytel, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, Bombardier Transportation and the Thunder Bay Kings were thrilled to officially launch the Bombardier Charity Walk that will take place on Sunday, July 17 during the final round of the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel.

This new charity event in support of the Northern Cancer Fund gives participants the chance to walk a 3 km route through the scenic Whitewater Golf Course; highlighting the best views and scenery that players on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada will see as they play their final round in the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel.


Employees' Gifts Fund Eight New Vital Signs Monitors at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (May 24, 2016)

New health care equipment arrived today at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and it was all thanks to gifts made by employees of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, boosted by the generosity of Tbaytel.

“At Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, employees give of themselves every day. They do this in challenging conditions.  And yet, so many of them take the opportunity to do even more. They donate so that our Health Sciences Foundation can purchase medical equipment, enhancing care for patients and families in our community. I could not be more proud,” said Jean Bartkowiak, President & CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute.

“We are delighted to announce the arrival of eight vital signs monitors that will be used in various patient care areas across the Health Sciences Centre,” said Robert Scott Srigley, Chair, Employee Giving Committee, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. “I would like to thank each and every one of the employees who has chosen to make a gift that supports the purchase of equipment that allows our health care team to provide the very best care for our families, friends and colleagues.”


New Activity at Staal Foundation Open; Where Everyone Plays (May 2, 2106)

(Thunder Bay, ON) – Now that the snow has melted, the countdown to summer is on. Today at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, representatives from both the Staal Foundation Open, presented by Tbaytel, and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation announced a much anticipated event that will make the weeks leading up to this year’s tournament that much more exciting.

Announced this morning were details on how children residing in Northwestern Ontario can enter a brand-new contest for a chance to play with the Staals as part of #TeamStaal2016 at the Pandora Intercity Summer Classic; a new road hockey event to be held on July 11 at 11 a.m. at Whitewater Golf Course, directly following the Opening Ceremonies of the Staal Foundation Open. 


5 Forks Bachelors for Hope Charity Auction Raises $69,121! (Apr 15, 2016)

Thunder Bay, ON - It was a night no one will soon forget. Held under the Big Top at the Victoria Inn Hotel and Convention Centre, the 5 Forks Bachelors for Hope Charity Auction was quite the show; all in the name of raising critical funds for breast cancer care and research through the Northern Cancer Fund. 5 Forks Operating Partner, Chris Bliznikas, was thrilled with the event. As he said, “Our community deserves exceptional cancer care, and 5 Forks is delighted to be a part of this event that lifts women up and celebrates their courage in the face of breast cancer.”

Last night, over 320 women gathered to have fun, feast on a gourmet 4-course dinner, and bid on ten incredible bachelors, each paired with amazing date packages. Altogether, the event was another huge success, raising $69,121, bringing the 18-year total to $1,094,886. The Bachelors themselves raised their highest amount ever; bringing in $17,000 in pledges to contribute to the night’s total.


Save a Heart Car Raffle Continues Critical Support of Cardiac Care (Mar 8, 2016)

Thunder Bay, ON - Today, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation celebrated the winners of its sixth annual Save a Heart Car Raffle. 

The grand prize winner, Robert Gashinski, drove away in his new 2016 Acura ILX, generously donated outright by Balmoral Park Acura, allowing more funds to go directly to cardiac care. “Excellent cardiac care is a must have in this community,” said Ryan Witiluk, General Manager, Balmoral Park Acura. “We are so proud to stand behind this raffle to ensure people who need life-saving cardiac care have it and have it here.”


Family CARE Grants Announced ~ $68,000 made available to fund grants to enhance patient care (Feb 4, 2016)

Thunder Bay, ON – The spirit of giving was alive and well today at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. This morning, $68,000 in new grant funding was announced by the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and the Volunteer Association as they presented the 2015 Family CARE (Care Advancements Recommended by Employees) grants.


Northern Cancer Fund and Shoppers Drug Mart Raise Critical Funds for Women’s Health Initiatives Through Growing Women’s Health Campaign (Jan 8, 2016)

Thunder Bay, ON – With the combined efforts of Shoppers Drug Mart, its Store Teams and customers, Thunder Bay will now have improved access to services and programming supporting women’s whole health in body, mind and spirit. The Shoppers Drug Mart 2015 Growing Women’s Health (formerly, Tree of Life) fundraising campaign has harvested more than $4348 for the Northern Cancer Fund. 


Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre New Year Baby 2016 (Jan 2, 2016)

The title of New Year Baby in Thunder Bay goes to Evan John Hearn. Baby Evan was born at 2:06 p.m. on January 1, 2016 at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, weighing in at 3.835 kg. 


Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation
980 Oliver Road  |  Thunder Bay, ON, Canada P7B 6V4  |  807 345 4673  |
OUR MISSION: To inspire the people of Northwestern Ontario to give generously to advance our healthcare at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

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