Message from Parker Jones Chair, Board of Directors, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundatio

Published Friday, December 23, 2022

Message from Parker Jones  Chair, Board of Directors, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundatio

Close-to-home healthcare is something we all want, but you don't realize just how important it is until you, a family member, or a friend needs it.


We all know people forced to travel to Toronto or elsewhere for tests, procedures, and operations. When your doctor tells you that you need healthcare and that you can't get it here, new anxieties pop up. Can I find someone to go with me? Where will we stay? What will it be like living in an unknown city? How much will this cost? What will we do about childcare? What do I do about work?


I've experienced this firsthand, and it is incredibly disruptive. My family and I recently returned home from living in Toronto for the past two months. The difficulty, the expense, and the stress of moving away for that long while dealing with your medical situation and then trying to figure out how to get your family home is too much. I was lucky that I was able to work remotely during this time, but not everyone has that option.


As many of you know, I've always been a strong proponent of closer-to-home care. Our family's ordeal underlined that there is nothing more important than ensuring we have the capacity to treat patients here where they live. Sometimes, travelling for healthcare is unavoidable. But we want to make that "sometimes" as rare as possible. During our worst days, our focus should be on our health and on getting better, not on how we are going to make ends meet. This is why I volunteered to be Chair a year ago, and this is why we've given to the Health Sciences Foundation over the years.


There is an incredible group of people who also worked hard to improve closer-to-home care that I want to mention this month, too. For 25 years, the volunteers at the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic curling bonspiel raised money to support local breast cancer care and research. This past October, they hosted their last event.


Many reflected on their achievements including Sue Childs, who was part of the bonspiel from the beginning. They see how local breast cancer care has improved exponentially since 1997. We now have the Linda Buchan Centre to help streamline mammography so women can get results faster and receive better-coordinated care. Our Hospital named the program after the remarkable woman and event co-founder who passed away from the disease in 2002. We also have Radialis, an alternative – and homegrown – breast screening method for women with denser breast tissue.


We are still not surprised when someone says they are travelling for healthcare. But we are hearing it less and less. That's thanks to you and your donation to our local healthcare programs. Together, with your continued support of the Health Sciences Foundation and its events and campaigns, we will eventually turn that "sometimes" into "almost never".


Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season,

 Parker Jones


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