Top 9 Stories in 2022 … Thanks to You!
Published Wednesday, January 18, 2023
What a year it's been! Though a lot has changed in our lives this year, what hasn't changed is our community’s giant heart. People from Thunder Bay and across Northwestern Ontario came together to fund equipment at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, bringing better healthcare to your friends & families. As we look back on 2022, we at the Health Sciences Foundation are reminded of these incredible stories from the past 12 months. Thank you for making these successes possible.
- Our Hearts at Home has a BIG Announcement
The Our Hearts at Home Cardiovascular Campaign to bring cardiovascular surgery to Northwestern Ontario experienced a significant boost in October. Representatives from the Hospital and Health Sciences Foundation joined Kevin Holland, MPP for Thunder Bay—Atikokan, to share details of the next stage of the Cardiovascular Surgery Project. When complete, the updated Cardiovascular Surgery space will feature a cardiac operating room (OR) for open heart surgery, a hybrid OR with imaging equipment for minimally invasive cardiac and vascular procedures, a 14-bed Cardiovascular Surgery Unit, and a six-bed Coronary Care Unit. Thanks to the generosity of all our donors, the campaign has raised over $16 million to date.
- Radialis is the next generation of Mammograpy
Radialis is a cutting edge and innovative alternative to X-ray mammography that was developed and will be manufactured right here in Thunder Bay! Dr. Alla Reznik and her team have worked for about 10 years developing this new technology from scratch. The technology detects breast cancer tumours using molecular imaging. This is a much more precise and efficient method of diagnosing breast cancer for women who have dense breast tissue, which is about half of all women. And, it does all this without painful compression of the breast during imaging.
Donations and proceeds from the Thunder Bay 50/50 draws helped support the purchase of components for a new Radialis unit being built here for local clinical trials. These are planned to start in Thunder Bay sometime in 2023/24 to test how well the unit can be used for monitoring certain breast cancer treatments.
*This image represents a conceptual rendering and is intended for illustrative purposes only*
- Natalie and Nick Pace win $2.53 Million in 2022 December 50/50
Natalie and Nick Pace from Thunder Bay became the Thunder Bay 50/50’s newest and biggest multi-millionaires! They were the winners of the record-breaking December 50/50 grand prize of $2,530,500. Natalie has bought tickets since the start of the Thunder Bay 50/50 draws. “I always buy the 50/50 tickets for the hospital,” she said. “I’ve been there often. Our family. Our parents have been there. I never thought I’d win. I was just trying to do something good for the hospital.” The proceeds of the December 50/50 are going to support the Hospital’s $3-million Emergency Department improvement project.
- The Thunder Bay 50/50 is one of the largest and most successful fundraisers of its kind
Compared to other 50/50 fundraisers across the country, the Thunder Bay 50/50 continues to shatter expectations and raise millions of dollars for healthcare in Northwestern Ontario. In its first year, staff from the Health Sciences Foundation were invited to speak at a fundraising conference in western Canada about the local fundraiser model and experiences. Foundation President and CEO, Glenn Craig, attributes the success to his team’s ability to convince area residents of the draw’s importance to the community and region. “They are really able to connect the dots for people, to show the impact of what those dollars mean.”
- All Foundation Signature Events are back in 2022
In 2022, our Signature events like the Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope, Ascend's Bachelors for Hope Charity Auction and the Resolute Save a Heart Ball were back in full swing! It was great gathering people together again in support of world-class cancer and cardiac care at the Hospital.
- A New, Safe Cultural Space Opened on National Day of Truth and Reconciliation
On September 30, a powerful symbol of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s commitment to providing safe, quality and respectful care to Indigenous patients was unveiled. A 20-foot tall tipi was raised on the grounds of the Hospital. The tipi will serve as a safe cultural space that will allow for gatherings, ceremony, teachings and storytelling. The materials and construction of the tipi and accompanying firewood and wool blankets were all funded through the Foundation’s Family CARE (Care Advancements Recommended by Employees) Grants program. Employees of the hospital apply for these grants for the ‘little things’ that can make a significant difference to patient care.
- Dancing with the Docs puts on an incredible show
The event, which was covid-delayed since 2020, raised over $200,000 for the Northern Cancer Fund PET Program to bring a new PET/CT scanner to Northwestern Ontario. A PET/CT is a vital technology not only for cancer care, but the new machine will be used by other disciplines, like cardiology. Eight doctors and local dancers competed for the Nikki Del Paggio Memorial Trophy. Patricia and Dr. Joseph Del Paggio created this event to honour their mother, Nikki, who passed away from cancer in 2019. Their love and compassion rallied the community behind this cause to generate a tremendous result. (P.S. The winners were Dr. Tracy Wilson and her partner Jacob Gazzola who performed a hip-hop performance.)
- Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic Raises $121,475 in its final year
The final Hope Classic women’s curling event raised a staggering $121,475 which will go directly towards supporting breast cancer care in Northwestern Ontario! The Hope Classic was originally launched by its founder, Linda Buchan, back in 1996. After her passing and with funding from the Hope Classic, our Hospital created the Linda Buchan Centre; which provides breast cancer screening and assessment services. Each year, thousands of women walk through its doors.
Having raised a total of $3,508,475 over the last 25 years, the impact this event has had on local and regional breast cancer care cannot be overstated.
- Over $5.6 Million in Equipment Funded at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
Our donors and Thunder Bay 50/50 supporters have funded millions of dollars of new equipment for our Hospital and its programs across NWO. The Foundation was able to fund over $5.6-million of equipment benefitting patient care across the Hospital. In total, 28 grants were approved to be funded. One of the biggest was $2,037,800 for replacement of a Cardiac Cath (Catherization) Lab where angioplasties and pacemaker insertions, along with other cardiac procedures, are performed.