Donors are helping the future of healthcare unfold across PRHC’s spectrum of care

PRHC Foundation donors have funded millions of dollars in equipment and technology across the wide spectrum of cancer care at Peterborough Regional Health Centre.

From the Norm & Jessie Dysart Radiation Centre and Breast Assessment Centre, to lifesaving investments in laboratory and surgical equipment, to current fundraising for two new CT scanners, a second MRI machine and technology that supports the automated preparation of chemotherapy medication, donors are supporting cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment for patients from across our region, close to home.

Among these prominent cancer care departments and tools though, is a lesser known area of medicine that is quickly becoming essential not only to cancer care, but to the future of healthcare at your hospital. Interventional radiology is an innovative specialty where experts like PRHC’s Dr. Sohail Zaheer use high-tech imaging to help them steer needles, guidewires and catheters into tiny incisions in the skin and through blood vessels. It’s used to find and fix issues just about anywhere in the body.

With it, Dr. Zaheer and his colleagues can stop bleeding, take tissue samples, put in access lines for dialysis, open up blood vessels, cauterize tumours, or even stop tumours from growing by blocking their blood supply. These procedures are performed without the large incisions and associated risks of open surgery.

This means less pain and shorter recovery times for patients like Liz, who was diagnosed and treated for metastatic breast cancer at PRHC. Interventional radiology is just part of the spectrum of her care made possible by your donations.

Dr. Zaheer shares that Liz is now cancer-free and he recently removed her port-a-cath – a device he implanted under her skin two years before for easy access to chemotherapy medication.

“As an interventional radiologist, the best part of my job is helping people like Liz get back to their lives as quickly and painlessly as possible,” he says.

There are a lot of patients like Liz. PRHC’s interventional radiologists already perform 6,000 procedures a year and the need is growing. But PRHC’s interventional radiology facilities are 13 years old, need updating, and are too small to fit essential new equipment and the number of medical personnel required to use it.

To meet that need and bring new treatments to our region, the Foundation is committed to funding a $6 million investment in interventional radiology. With your help, PRHC will renovate and expand its facilities, outfitting them with state-of-the-art technology. Then Dr. Zaheer and his colleagues can perform more – and more complex – procedures. “Because donors care, the future of healthcare is unfolding right here,” he says.

For more information on this exciting investment, please call 705-876-5000, or make a donation online.

Impact Spotlight: First in Canada SPECT/CT bringing best possible care closer to home

A medical radiation technologist demonstrates a SPECT/CT machine

Did you know that with the help of donors, in 2019 PRHC invested in a cutting-edge new SPECT/CT machine that was the first of its kind in Canada? This state-of-the-art technology represented the biggest leap forward in nuclear medicine in over a decade.

Since its installation made possible by donor generosity, the new SPECT/CT has scanned approximately 2,000 patients a year, providing PRHC’s experts with detailed 3D images so they can more clearly identify and pinpoint the site of any abnormality, particularly tumours, diagnose and stage cancer, and determine how patients’ treatments are progressing.

SPECT/CT uses two types of scans that when combined, allow doctors to gather more precise information about a specific part of the body. Scans with this machine are higher quality, take less time and use less radiation than the machine it replaced. For patients this means a more precise and timely diagnosis, and a more comfortable and safe procedure.

“PRHC has been on the leading edge, using advanced technology like SPECT/CT to bring the best possible care closer to home for our region’s residents,” says PRHC Nuclear Medicine Charge Technologist Brad Plain. “This equipment allows us to obtain the best quality images possible in a much shorter period, helping patients feel less anxiety and discomfort during the process, and helping doctors make diagnoses and treatment decisions sooner.”

Flower power: Floral subscriptions that give back

pink and green floral arrangement

Diana McCulloch, from the PRHC Lab and D. McCulloch Events, has once again combined her passions in generous support of the PRHC Foundation. She’s offering seasonal floral subscriptions with free delivery within Peterborough. Plus each subscription includes a donation to the Foundation to help your hospital invest in the equipment and technology used every day in the care of patients from across our region.

For all the details and options within the 1-, 3- and 6-arrangement subscriptions, please see the order form or email Diana. You can also check out more of her beautiful floral arrangements, including examples from every season, on Instagram or Facebook.

Thank you so much, Diana and subscribers, for your ongoing support!

#GetInTheBoat: Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival is back on the water!

On Saturday June 11, 2022 Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival will safely welcome our community back to Little Lake at Del Crary Park in Peterborough for a great day on the water in support of PRHC Foundation and cancer care at Peterborough Regional Health Centre! Get your team together and get ready to #GetInTheBoat! More information is available online now.

We’re so grateful for this beloved event and vital fundraiser which has raised more than $3.7 million since 2001 to help fund world-class cancer and breast cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment at PRHC. Proceeds from the 2022 Festival will support the Health Centre’s continuing mission to bring the best cancer care the world has to offer, right to your regional hospital. 

With your support, PRHC will be able to serve more patients, support earlier cancer diagnosis, and ensure safer, more effective treatment, close to home. You’ll be helping the hospital invest in equipment and technology like new state-of-the-art CT scanners, a second cutting-edge MRI machine, and RIVA technology for the robotic preparation of chemotherapy. You’ll also be helping PRHC attract and retain the best and brightest healthcare professionals. 

On behalf of everyone at PRHC, especially patients and their families, thank you to the organizing committee, Survivors Abreast and all of the passionate sponsors, volunteers, participants and donors who make the Festival a success every year!

Dave’s Walk inspired our community to get involved and raise over $11,000 for PRHC!

Dave Graham holds a donation cheque

Dave Graham and his family were shocked when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in late March 2021. “But we had to keep our heads up and keep going,” he says. 74-year-old Dave truly got going. He started walking for exercise and his daily strolls gave him time to think and pray. His strong faith played a large role in carrying him through his diagnosis, then surgery a couple of months later.

Dave describes PRHC’s Cancer Clinic as another bright light at that dark time. While he wasn’t happy about why he had to go there, he found he looked forward to seeing the healthcare professionals who supported him during his twice monthly chemotherapy appointments. He appreciated their compassionate and upbeat attitudes, and straightforward approach to care.

Dave also found comfort in the support of his family, church community and close friends. One of those friends had his own personal experience with a cancer diagnosis and care at PRHC’s Cancer Clinic. Dave had always admired his friend’s positive spirit and after his diagnosis, appreciated it even more. “And there are so many people with cancer,” Dave says. “They’re all suffering and struggling, and I wanted to inspire them the way my friend inspired me.”

While experiencing great care and with so much support around him, Dave decided that something good had to come from his diagnosis. He was moved to give back to his hospital and his community.

Dave approached the PRHC Foundation, and with a little help, set up a fundraising initiative as a way to say thank you to PRHC’s Cancer Care team and contribute to the care of other cancer patients. He couldn’t have known then the extent of the positive impact his fundraiser would have.

Dave set a big goal: Walk 7,000 steps a day through mid-December when his chemotherapy was due to end, and raise $5,000 to help fund the equipment and technology PRHC’s doctors, nurses and staff use every day to provide outstanding cancer care to patients from around the region, close to home.

The community’s response to Dave’s fundraiser was overwhelming. Not only did people donate, they reached out with prayers and words of encouragement and thanks. Dave received emails and phone calls, sometimes from acquaintances he hadn’t seen in years.

“One day the doorbell rang,” Dave says. “And there was a man I worked with 30 years ago. He’d heard about the fundraiser and wanted to personally give me a $100 donation and wish me well.”

People Dave has never met reached out, too. “I’ve received notes from strangers, people who are also going through cancer or have a family member with cancer,” he says. “They’d say, ‘we’re all going through this, we have to help each other.’”

The support of his community inspired Dave all over again. “Some mornings instead of getting up to walk at 6am, I just wanted to stay in bed. But my community kept me going,” he says. “All these people were walking with me.”

Soon Dave surpassed his $5,000 goal and he raised the bar to $10,000. The area’s residents responded once more, taking Dave’s Walk from one man’s objective to “a team effort,” Dave says.

PRHC Foundation President & CEO, Lesley Heighway, describes the ripple effect community fundraisers have. “They give people hope and it inspires other people to consider making a difference of their own by doing something similar,” she says. “Financially, fundraisers are extremely important for our hospital, but they also galvanize people. They bring people together. Dave inspired others to think ‘Wow, look at what he’s doing. Maybe I could do something similar.’”

Dave’s fundraiser grew beyond a single walk to a series of creative initiatives as more and more people were motivated to get involved.  

His daughter Leslie and son Matt organized a Hair & Handlebar shave with the hope of raising $1,000 to contribute to their father’s goal. Over $2,000 later, Leslie shaved her head and Matt sacrificed his signature moustache for the cause.

Dave’s wife, Liz, wasn’t to be outdone. “I baked 11 dozen shortbreads and pickled two big lots of beets to sell on Facebook,” she says. “And then my hairdresser heard about it and took six dozen of the cookies.” Other businesses in the region also reached out to make donations.

In December, Dave finished his chemotherapy and his walk, having taken 765,000 steps in his journey to say thanks for great care and help ensure patients like him continue to receive advanced, personalized cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment at PRHC.

PRHC Foundation President & CEO, Lesley Heighway, explains that since the government doesn’t fund hospital equipment, PRHC relies on community donations to fund the tools Health Centre experts use every day. “All of those gifts come together to enable the great care that we have here,” she says. “It’s also a huge morale boost when staff and medical professionals see what people like Dave are undertaking in the community to ensure that the next person who comes after them can have access to world-class care.”

Shortly after Dave finished his walk and treatment, the PRHC Foundation was grateful to receive $11,111 in donations collected through his fundraiser. And then Dave and Liz topped even that amount! “A Christmas card came with $50 in it,” says Liz. “So we added that to the donation to bring it to $11,161.”

“This experience was so humbling,” says Dave. “It’s an experience I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. I know at my age I won’t have a chance to do something like this again for my community. I feel fulfilled.”

The PRHC Foundation is incredibly grateful for the generosity of Dave and Liz, their family, friends and congregation, and the wider community who donated and contributed their time and support to Dave’s Walk. The funds raised are enabling PRHC to invest in advanced new CT scanner and MRI technology used in the diagnosis of cancer, and a state-of-the-art robotic intravenous automation (RIVA) system to ensure every complex, patient-specific chemotherapy dose is prepared safely and accurately in a sterile, automated environment.  

It’s donors who make the difference between good and great care. On behalf of PRHC, especially patients and their families, thank you to everyone involved in this generous initiative.

If you’d like to learn more about organizing your own personal fundraiser, please visit our Events page.