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High Performer - AHP Report on Giving 2015





I remember it like it was yesterday.

I’m sitting in the doctor’s office listening to my diagnosis in total disbelief. I knew something was wrong. After all, I had found a lump. But I wasn’t expecting this.

I’m 32 years old and I’ve just been told that I have breast cancer.

Panic rushed in and made me physically ill. I was sobbing, wondering what was going to happen to me. One of my closest friends had passed away from breast cancer when she was just 24. I kept saying, “I don’t want to die. I still have so much living to do.”

You might think hearing I had breast cancer was my scariest moment. But in fact, the waiting was the hardest part. You see, I had my diagnosis. I just didn’t know how bad it was. Until the pathology came back from my mastectomy, my mind ran wild with worry. Would my husband lose his wife, my parents their daughter? It hit home for me that breast cancer can strike anyone, at any age.

Thankfully I was referred to Dr. Neera Jeyabalan, an oncologist at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC). She spent over an hour with my husband and me, patiently answering all of our questions. By the time we left the office, I was breathing a little easier.

I had a trusted ally – someone who did everything in her power to save my life.

My name is Amy Semple and I’m writing today with a heart filled with gratitude. I’m thankful to the amazing people on the frontlines of cancer care at PRHC. They gave me everything I needed, from world-class care and treatment to a comforting touch on my knee.

And I’m also deeply grateful to donors. My friends at PRHC Foundation tell me that donor support is the reason I had access to such outstanding cancer care close to home. Thanks to kind-hearted people in our community, my journey from diagnosis to surgery to chemotherapy happened in this incredible, caring place with expert techniques and state-of-the-art equipment.

Today I hope you’ll find it in your heart to be generous again. Your special gift will help fund the vital technology that forms the backbone of cancer care. It will give thousands of cancer patients across our region precious hope to hold onto at the scariest time in their lives.

It wasn’t until the test results came back after my surgery that I discovered what an important role the Laboratory plays for cancer patients at PRHC. Dr. Jeyabalan and her colleagues rely on lab tests to confirm 100% of cancer diagnoses and to help determine their recommendations for treatment.

It is unbelievable the magnitude of tests that they have to run to support our survival. For patients like me, receiving fast, accurate answers can make all the difference to our health and peace of mind.

I was amazed to learn there were more than 1.65 million tests performed in PRHC’s lab last year alone. They’ve also experienced a tremendous increase in demand for cancer-related testing for patients from across our region in recent years.

My friends at PRHC Foundation tell me that the Laboratory has an urgent need for technology that supports fast and efficient processing of tissue and cytological samples taken during cancer biopsies and surgeries. Your gift today will help support the purchase of essential lab equipment like thin layer cytology tools, which can cut and stain a single layer of cells from a tissue sample, allowing pathologists to analyze them onsite without having to send out numerous samples to other sites. Being able to do these tests right here at PRHC ensures that oncologists receive results more quickly so they can diagnose patients like me.

Thankfully for me, the news from the lab was good. My breast cancer was Stage One. I would need four chemo treatments at PRHC, but it looked like I was going to be okay. Thanks to my amazing care team, I could put my darkest fears behind me and go back to living my life.

And that’s exactly what I’ve done. It’s been 4 years since my diagnosis, and I have a good prognosis for a long healthy life. I’ve gone back to my teaching job and I proudly joined Survivors Abreast, Peterborough’s competitive Dragon Boat team. As the youngest member, it’s been incredibly meaningful to become part of a multi-generational community of breast cancer survivors who raise awareness and funds for cancer care and treatment at our hospital.

I support PRHC because I know firsthand how much it means to receive exemplary cancer care in my own community. I’ve also seen the need for new equipment and technology and want to do my part for the many people facing their own cancer journey.

Today, I urge you to join me as a champion for great care at PRHC. Your donation will make an impact in the lives of cancer patients in our community. At the most frightening time they can imagine, it will give them a reason to keep hope in their hearts.

With sincere gratitude,

Amy Semple
PRHC Patient and PRHC Foundation Donor

P.S. Doctors at PRHC depend on state-of-the-art technology to give cancer patients their best chance to recover and live a long life. Lab equipment is essential to diagnosing and treating cancer as quickly as possible. Please give your support by making your generous gift today. Thank you!