Published Wednesday, September 20, 2023

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

Last month I talked about the cyclotron and how it will help improve access to PET/CT imaging for patients in Northwestern Ontario – not to mention research. PET was developed originally as an imaging technique for cancer diagnosis, staging, and treatment planning. This is an amazingly sensitive and minimally invasive tool that helps guide the decision for surgery and other treatment options in all areas of the body including the lungs.

Today, radioisotopes in PET/CT imaging can also be used for other applications such as cardiac imaging and surgery planning. For example, it can sometimes be difficult for surgeons conducting bypass surgery to know precisely how many bypasses are needed until the operation begins. (We've all heard stories of someone going in for four bypasses and coming out with one – or vice-versa.) Nuclear medicine can now give a clearer picture of the heart muscle and vessels. That means better planning and, ultimately better outcomes for patients.

However, not any PET/CT scanner will do, and our Hospital’s old scanner couldn't. Thunder Bay was lucky enough to be one of the very few hospitals in Ontario to have access to this cutting-edge technology when it was installed in 2008. But 15 years is a long time when new advancements occur every day. Soon the Diagnostic Imaging Department will begin scanning patients with a new state-of-the-art PET/CT unit, purchased thanks mainly to our generous donors.

I want to recognize the impact of the Dancing with the Docs event hosted last November. The efforts of all participants, volunteers, donors, doctors, and the DelPaggio family were significant in pulling off such an event. Hundreds of hours of planning and practicing went to this sold-out event with 100% of the proceeds going towards the funding of the PET/CT facility.  

If we step back and look at the big picture, I'm overwhelmed by the changes we've seen. The year 2008 doesn't seem like that long ago. However since then we completed our Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign, installed minimally invasive surgery (MIS) suites, developed a world-leading urology program, undertaken niche imaging research (including the development of Dr. Reznik's homegrown Radialis unit), and so much more – all community-supported by donors like you. This new PET/CT marks another milestone in our mission to improve closer-to-home care. We are moving forward together for better healthcare now.

Our goal has always been the same: to support more patients here at home so they don't have to travel for healthcare. I'm touched by the many people in Northwestern Ontario who believe this too, and have given so much to see that dream come true. The journey is a success so far, though we're not finished yet. Please make your donation to better healthcare today or purchase your Thunder Bay 50/50 tickets in support of closer-to-home care. Help us create the best care available anywhere, right here in Thunder Bay.

Thank you,

Parker Jones



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