Donor support helping surgeons see better to do better in PRHC’s operating rooms

With donor support, PRHC will introduce fluorescence-guided imaging technology to the hospital’s general operating suites for the first time. This innovation is part of a replacement and upgrading of outdated surgical tools, allowing PRHC’s general surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures with GPS-like precision – with less risk of complications for patients.

With fluorescence-guided imaging, contrast dyes or agents are injected into the patient’s bloodstream prior to surgery, making anatomical features, organs, nerves or even cancer cells, light up. That highlighting will help doctors use other new, advanced equipment, like ultra-high-definition scopes and monitors, enhanced cameras, and improved light sources, to locate, remove and reconnect tissues. PRHC general surgeon Dr. Joslin Cheverie explains why this is so important for patient care, using a common bowel surgery as an example.

“When a diseased or cancerous portion of colon is removed, the remaining healthy sections are joined back together. It’s critical that the repaired section have healthy blood flow, or the patient is at greater risk of complications,” she says. “With this technology, I’ll be able to make better, more informed decisions during surgery.”

Fluorescence-guided imaging and state-of-the-art surgical tools are an exciting element of a wider, $13 million reinvestment in minimally invasive interventions, which also includes interventional radiology.

Replacing the hospital’s surgical technology now will ensure PRHC’s experts have better visuals to more accurately perform lifesaving and life-changing operations – like colorectal cancer surgery, emergency appendectomies, hernia repairs and gallbladder removals – right here, safely, quickly and with less wait time.

It’s donors who will make this possible, funding advances in minimally invasive technology and techniques that empower physicians like Dr. Cheverie to treat more conditions, efficiently, without big cuts, using less anesthesia, and leaving behind nothing more than a tiny scar. 

For patients, that means less pain, reduced risk of infection, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery. This is important for all patients, but especially those vulnerable to complications, including the more than 60,000 seniors in our region.

For more information on this investment, please call 705-876-5000 or to make a donation, please click here.

How true love inspired Audrey to give back

PRHC Foundation legacy donor and hospital volunteer Audrey Ashdown

In memory of Audrey Ashdown.

Audrey Ashdown moved to Peterborough with her husband and high school sweetheart, Bill, in 1959. She felt both excited and frightened. “It was a challenging time… But I had my life’s partner by my side,” she said.

Before long, their new home was surrounded by neighbours. They were delighted to see their children grow up with so many nearby playmates. Peterborough seemed the ideal place to raise a family, but life changed abruptly in 1982, when Bill suffered his first heart attack at only 52 years old.

Bill was rushed to PRHC. Doctors and nurses were able to stabilize him and Audrey was flooded with relief. Twenty years later, she would feel the same relief when Bill suffered another heart attack and his life was saved again at PRHC.

Audrey was grateful to still have Bill by her side after multiple cardiac events. She began volunteering at the hospital – a commitment she continued into her late eighties.

Audrey lost the love of her life when Bill passed away in 2013, but she felt overwhelming gratitude for the three decades they’d shared after his first heart attack. She’d also seen advancements and expansions of hospital services during her time as a volunteer. She felt it was a fitting choice to leave a gift to PRHC Foundation in her will.

Though she made sure to provide for her children in her will, Audrey viewed her legacy gift as one that would ultimately give back to them, too. “I want to ensure that my children, grandchildren, neighbours and friends will receive the same high calibre healthcare that I have benefited from,” she explained.

Audrey’s children are proud that their mother’s generosity has continued to make an impact on the community since her passing in 2021. Her legacy gift has helped sustain services at PRHC, providing high-quality care for people from across the region. Through her bequest, Audrey’s kindness lives on.

For more information on legacy and planned giving, or to share your legacy donor story, please contact Lesley Heighway, President & CEO, at 705-743-2121, ext. 3859 or send her an email.

Jennie says thanks for her care by helping ensure others can get the care they need

It was 5:30 p.m. by the time Jennie Ireland got the diagnosis she’d been dreading. Suddenly, she was a 42-year-old single mom with a seven-year-old son, aging parents, and she’d just been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Looking back, it was an awful time,” Jennie says. On sleepless nights, she worried about what her illness would mean for her son, Liam. Could she take him to hockey practice and help him with his schoolwork? Would she be there to watch him grow up? “But I refused to give up hope,” she says. “And receiving care at PRHC was my lifeline.”

Jennie explains that being able to get care in her community with donor-funded technology meant less worry. Without it, she would have had to travel to Toronto, Oshawa or even Kingston for months on end. “I believe it had a positive impact on my recovery,” she says. “Because I was able to get care close to home, I could focus on what mattered most: Getting better and keeping life as normal as possible for my son.”

Like many people, Jennie was surprised to find out that the government doesn’t fund hospital equipment and that a population of more than 600,000 relies on PRHC for care. This includes people from the city and county of Peterborough, the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County, east Durham, and the Haliburton Highlands.

Patients come to PRHC with a wide range of needs, from treatment for cancer, heart attacks and strokes, to surgery or mental health care. They may be seeking treatment in an emergency, or because of a chronic condition. Whatever the reason, Jennie wants to ensure that like her, others can get the care they need, close to home.

“I became a donor, volunteer fundraiser and a PRHC Foundation ambassador to help our hospital upgrade its technology so that more patients like me can get the care they need when they need it most,” says Jennie. “But PRHC can only do it with our help. I’d like everyone who can to join me in donating so doctors, nurses and staff have the best equipment to provide the best care.”

To donate, please call 705-876-5000 or click here.

Find out how, like Ivo, you can create a legacy for those you love most

Ivo Nightingale is a proud PRHC Foundation legacy donor. He explains why planned giving is important to him:

“For my wife, Lynda, and I, there were so many reasons we chose to make the Peterborough region our home: the people, the great theatre, our daughter and two grandchildren living nearby. But would it surprise you to know that PRHC was also a factor?

We knew, when we were deciding where to retire, that we’d likely need a great hospital eventually. And we were right. From stroke treatment, to cancer care, to emergency surgery, PRHC’s been there for our family through thick and thin. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience?

Lynda and I are so grateful for the amazing care we’ve received at PRHC. So, when our financial advisor suggested that we could reduce our estate taxes with a gift in our will, the PRHC Foundation felt like a natural fit.

It feels wonderful to know that we can provide for our family and grandchildren in our wills and leave them another gift: an exceptional regional hospital. Our gift today will make a difference tomorrow!”

For more information about making a gift through your Will to the PRHC Foundation, please call Lesley Heighway, President & CEO, at 705-743-2121, ext. 3859 or send her an email.

Always consult a professional financial advisor to discuss the best charitable giving options for you.

Your donations made it happen! New CTs are helping care providers see problems more clearly and safely

PRHC Foundation donors made it possible for the hospital to replace and upgrade outdated equipment with two new, cutting-edge CT scanners. Now, the team that uses them every day, has given us a special update about the impacts this $4.55 million investment is having on the care they provide to people from across our region.

CT scanners are essential. They’re the backbone of diagnostic imaging, used to visualize and confirm a wide range of illness and injury, such as blood clots, cancers, spinal issues, head injuries, fractures, obstructions, stroke, and cardiac disease, among many others. In a typical year at PRHC, around 33,000 CT scans are performed on approximately 28,000 patients. 

Dr. Rola Shaheen, PRHC Physician Chief and Medical Director of Diagnostic Imaging, explains that these scans are different than those provided by the old machines. “The new scanners are better at imaging everything. Images are clearer, more comprehensive and more precise, allowing for more accurate diagnosis. While image quality has vastly improved, the radiation dosage used is lower, which is safer for both the patient and the technologist,” she says.

“Also, with the new scanners, technologists can now perform cardiac CT imaging and brain perfusion exams for stroke patients. The machines also include an interventional radiology package, which supports more accurate biopsies. The old equipment didn’t have these capabilities.”

Dr. Shaheen and her colleagues are very grateful to donors for funding the CT scanners. “Thank you for understanding the value of state-of-the-art equipment. Thank you for funding the technology that helps me and my team care for our patients and do our jobs to the best of our abilities,” she says.

Brandon Ray, PRHC Senior Technologist, CT, agrees. “It’s wonderful to be able to offer safer, more accurate scans. The CT beds are also wider and offer more movement function than the old ones, so that makes the experience more comfortable and easier for the patient, especially those in pain,” he says. “Thank you, donors!”

For more information on the impact of your generosity, call 705-876-5000.

Together, we’re embracing spring, the next era of donor-funded care and PRHC’s new CEO

PRHC Foundation President & CEO Lesley Heighway outside the hospital

Dear Friends,

Spring has long been a time for renewal – spring cleaning, the anticipation of summer weather and fun, and for green thumbs like me, all those spring showers that bring the garden flowers. But this year, spring has had an extra feeling of transition.

I’m speaking of the March retirement of Health Centre President & CEO, Dr. Peter McLaughlin, after 17 years with PRHC and a 50-year career in healthcare. On behalf of the Foundation, congratulations to Dr. McLaughlin. We thank him for his wonderful support of the PRHC Foundation and his exceptional service and dedication to healthcare. Under his leadership, your hospital became a truly regional centre that up to 600,000 people rely on for care.

I’m also pleased to welcome new PRHC President & CEO, Dr. Lynn Mikula. She’s a longtime supporter of the PRHC Foundation and I’ve had the pleasure of working with her throughout her time at the Health Centre.

In a recent email to hospital and Foundation staff, Dr. Mikula explained how honoured she is to take on the role of President & CEO. She also asked me to tell you how grateful she is for your support:

“I’ve always been struck by the way the people of this community and hospital rise to meet every challenge – especially in the last three years as everyone has supported us through difficult times. Thank you, donors!” she says. “I also want to thank Dr. McLaughlin for his thoughtful, steady, compassionate leadership. We’ve worked together to ensure a smooth transition at PRHC and I’m eager to continue building the future of healthcare here.”

Dr. Mikula and I look forward to continuing the robust partnership between the hospital and the Foundation. I’m glad to have a strong relationship with her and the hospital leadership team as our organizations work together to shape the future of healthcare for our region. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of our incredible donors and we’re grateful for your generosity.

Many of you are long term donors who over the years have helped us fund the vital technology PRHC’s doctors, nurses and staff need to provide world-class care. Thank you! Many others have more recently stepped up to join us as the pandemic, health human resource issues and economy have challenged our hospital and others – as well as you, your loved ones and neighbours – like never before. Thank you and welcome!

Whether you’re a new or an old friend of the Foundation, I’m moved every day by your support and the impact of your donations on patient care. Because of you, we’re celebrating a year and a half of diagnostic imaging on two new, cutting-edge CT scanners. We’re celebrating a $3.55 million state-of-the-art upgrade to the Cardiac Cath Lab. And although we have fundraising left to do, we’re already amazed by your support of your hospital’s $6 million investment in life-changing interventional radiology.

Your generosity also makes me so hopeful for the future. Your donations will help PRHC continue to provide care to a growing number of patients in an aging population, with higher rates of disease and more complex conditions. They’ll fuel exciting innovations in areas like minimally invasive care, bring new services once available only in big city centres to our region, and in turn continue to attract the best and brightest healthcare experts to work at PRHC.

I hope you feel that optimism, too. We’re doing something powerful together. On behalf of the thousands of patients and families who are touched by it, thank you!

Have a healthy and safe season,
Lesley Heighway
President & CEO, PRHC Foundation

New $3.55 million donor-funded Cardiac Cath Lab is keeping all our hearts here

Dr. Warren Ball, PRHC Interventional Cardiologist and Head of Division, Cardiology

We’re very happy to share that PRHC’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory reinvestment is now complete!

The two existing Cath Lab suites have been entirely renovated and upgraded, and began functioning at full capacity this fall. In the first month that both suites were operational, there were 324 Cath Lab visits, including 279 angiograms and 117 cardiac stenting procedures – some actually performed while a heart attack was taking place!

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Dr. Andrew Kelly joins the Cardiac Cath Lab team

Dr. Andrew Kelly, PRHC Interventional Cardiologist

PRHC was pleased to welcome Dr. Andrew Kelly earlier this summer. An interventional cardiologist, Dr. Kelly joins Dr. Warren Ball, Dr. Phong Nguyen-Ho and Dr. Katy Shufelt as the newest physician on the Cardiac Cath Lab team.

Dr. Kelly completed his medical degree at Ross University and went on to do residency training at the University of Connecticut for Internal Medicine and McMaster University for Cardiology, followed by a Fellowship in Interventional Cardiology at McMaster University.

Donor investment in new state-of-the-art Cath Lab facilities was critical to PRHC’s ability to bring Dr. Kelly to our hospital and reflects the growth of this vital regional service. Thank you!