Chair, Board of Directors, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation
Jody Nesti, Chair,
February 24, 2018
Happy Heart Month!
I think it’s safe to say that most of us living in Northwestern Ontario understand the health challenges we face, living so far away from southern Ontario. Getting the right care at the right time in the right place is just one of them.
Take cardiac care. Right now, many patients have to travel to Toronto or elsewhere to get advanced cardiac care including bypass surgery, valve replacements, and complicated interventional procedures. Ask any patient, and they’ll tell you that having those procedures here closer to home where they can get the support of family and friends would be much less stressful.
We don’t put enough importance on the value of being surrounded by loved ones while recovering from such a physical and emotional trauma. Feeling loved and comforted is a medicine we all need. It’s a medicine that’s much harder to get when you are a thousand miles from home.
That’s why it was such good news to hear this past summer that the provincial government was supporting the launch of new cardiac and vascular surgery services here at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Cardiovascular care is the number one killer in Northwestern Ontario. Amputation rates are also extremely high – three times higher here than the provincial average. Better access to vascular surgery will greatly reduce those rates.
Already, the community is coming together to help change those stats. In January, I was in the room when Dan Topatigh from Tbaytel made the incredible announcement that they would be donating $500,000 to help create Ontario’s newest cardiovascular surgery program. Tbaytel has always been such a huge supporter of healthcare in our community, and there can never be enough thanks for their generosity. Also in January, councillors confirmed that the City of Thunder Bay would contribute $1 million over five years for the program.
The proceeds from a brand new signature event in support of the Foundation will go towards the Northern Cardiac Fund as well. On Thursday, February 22 at 7pm, the Copperfin Credit Union and Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. hosted the 1st Annual Hops for Hearts at the brewery. The night featured fun, food, prizes, and of course hoppy refreshments – a unique way to get together with friends and raise funds for our new cardiac care services.
This Heart Month, I encourage you to find out how you can help to bring more cardiac services to Thunder Bay. Whether it was attending the Hops for Hearts or making a donation directly to the Northern Cardiac Fund, your gift will help bring the cardiac care we deserve to our Hospital.