Top 9 Stories in 2023 … Doing More, Thanks to You!

Published Monday, January 15, 2024

Top 9 Stories in 2023 … Doing More, Thanks to You!

Top 9 Stories in 2023 … Doing More, Thanks to You!

At this time of year, it is important to reflect on the year that was, and hope for the year that will be. Overwhelming gratitude is a common element to both.

Thank you for your support making these successes possible.

Glenn Craig
President & CEO
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation


  1. Family’s Memorial Pool Tournament Benefits Local Breast Cancer Patients

In year two of the Rita Bannon Memorial Pool Tournament, the organizers almost doubled the size of participants and tripled the event’s donation to the Northern Cancer Fund.

Rita, a breast cancer survivor, was well known in the pool playing circles. When she passed in 2021, her family decided to commemorate her love for life and fun by gathering people together to do what she loved best – playing pool. “We’d like to continue this event for as long as we can to help with Rita’s cause to raise funds for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in the Northwest,” said her brother Wally Bannon. “As long as we’re helping, we’re happy.”

  1. Advocating for the Future of Healthcare

A long time resident of Thunder Bay, Barry Streib appreciates living in a community that has so much to offer, including a hospital in our own back yard and access to quality care, equipment, programs and research. During “Make a Will Month” in November, Barry was featured in a video and various articles sharing the value of leaving a gift to local healthcare in your Will.

Some people imagine “legacy gifts” to mean large sums of money. Not so says Barry – every bit helps. “You want to make sure your family is taken care of in your Will – that’s number one. But your family and friends are going to need healthcare in the future, too. Dedicating even a small percentage to your legacy gift will make a difference to their futures.”

  1. Sam Maki wins Record-Breaking $3.98 Million in 2023 December 50/50

Sam Maki from Thunder Bay became the Thunder Bay 50/50’s newest and biggest multi-millionaire! The draw’s guaranteed $2-million grand prize grew to a record-breaking $3.98-million, making Sam and his family the biggest prize winners in the Thunder Bay 50/50’s history!

The Maki family’s early plans are to buy a new home with more space and to take the boys on a trip - to Disneyland if their youngest son Cash has his way.

  1. Family CARE Grants Bring Frontline Healthcare Workers’ Ideas to Life

For the 14th year in a row, frontline staff at our Hospital applied for grants for the “little things” that can make a significant difference to patient care. The ideas for patient care improvements come directly from the staff on the frontlines of healthcare; the Family CARE (Care Advancements Recommended by Employees) Grants help bring their ideas to life.

Thanks to funding provided by donors to the Health Sciences Foundation, $74,773.50 was provided to fund 46 Family CARE Grants in 2023, including:

  • Stuffed animals for the OR to comfort children before their operation.
  • New, additional two-wheeled walkers for Cardiology/Stroke so more are available, enabling patients to get up and be mobile sooner.
  • Music CDs for Radiation Therapy so relaxing and multicultural music can be played for patients during treatment.
  • Weights and exercise bands to facilitate exercise for renal patients to improve their physical functioning and muscle strength.
  1. Giving Tuesday Raises $50,000 for our NICU

November’s Giving Tuesday is a 24-hour fundraising day that marks the kickoff of giving season, right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, the Foundation focused on raising $50,000 to purchase a Giraffe Infant Warmer for our Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where premature or sick newborns are provided care. It is needed to replace an older warmer that is becoming outdated.

  1. Another First for our World-Class Urology Program

The MOSES laser system is used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and kidney stones. Thanks to the generosity of donors, our Urology Program is the first in Canada to upgrade to MOSES 2.0, which is the most advanced technology available.

Since 2020, more than 200 patients with enlarged prostates have been treated at the Health Sciences Centre. With this equipment, 100% of patients have been discharged the same day, without a catheter, with less pain and without requiring retreatment. This upgrade further reduces procedure time and decreases the likelihood of a ureteral stone migration to the kidney, meaning we are able to treat more patients, safer.

  1. The 30th Annual Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope raised over $41,500 for Breast Cancer Care

To date, the Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope has raised over $500,000 for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in Northwestern Ontario. The Luncheon was started as a way to honour those who have fought breast cancer. This year’s speaker, Jessica Brown, shared her journey as a young cancer patient living with metastatic breast cancer. “(The Luncheon) feels like a huge hug from the community, like you’re being taken care of. You feel seen. You feel like people want to help,” said Jessica. “I know the funds are going to stay local. I know it’s going to make our Cancer Centre more exceptional than it already is.”

  1. The Dream is Finally Becoming a Reality

The Our Hearts at Home Cardiovascular Campaign is now front and centre at the Health Sciences Centre. A campaign sign now sits at the entrance of the Hospital as a constant reminder of the coming arrival of cardiac surgery for the people of Northwestern Ontario.

Donors to the campaign are helping some cardiac patients receive treatment closer-to-home right now thanks to the very successful vascular surgery program at our Hospital. Next, we are looking forward to the next step – bringing cardiac surgery here, so patients will not need to travel away for these services anymore.

Construction of the new 70,000 square foot building, to accommodate the cardiac and vascular surgery programs, is estimated to begin in late 2024.

  1. Over $7.275 Million in Equipment Funded at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

The Foundation granted its largest amount ever to the Health Sciences Centre in 2023/24. This next year, over $7.275-million will be used to buy vital equipment and fund improvements needed throughout our Hospital. The grants will benefit patient care across the Hospital. In total, 35 grants were approved. The two largest grants included $2.8-million towards phase one of the Emergency Department redevelopment project and over $1-million to complete funding for the replacement of a Cardiac Cath (Catherization) Lab where angioplasties and pacemaker insertions, along with other cardiac procedures, are performed.



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