PRHC atrium named in honour of Dr. Anne Keenleyside’s $2 million legacy gift in support of cancer care innovation

Pictured from left to right in the Anne Keenleyside & Family Atrium in Peterborough Regional Health Centre are (front row) Anne’s stepdaughter Cassandra Butler, Anne’s partner Pat Butler and Anne’s stepdaughter Melissa Butler, (back row) Anne’s close friend Lynda Wood, PRHC President & CEO Dr. Lynn Mikula, PRHC Radiologist Dr. Peter Gianakopoulos, and PRHC Foundation President & CEO Lesley Heighway. 

Download a copy of the PRHC Foundation’s related media release.

The atrium of Peterborough Regional Health Centre’s (PRHC) fourth-floor lobby has been freshly unveiled as the Anne Keenleyside & Family Atrium. The naming is in honour of a $2 million estate gift to the Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation from Dr. Anne Keenleyside, a highly respected Trent University professor of bioarcheology who passed away in October of 2022 after succumbing to cancer.

At a celebration of the unveiling, Lesley Heighway, PRHC Foundation President & CEO, called Keenleyside’s legacy “so transformational, it’s not just improving the care available at PRHC today – it’s helping shape the future of healthcare for hundreds of thousands of people from across our region for years to come.” Heighway reflected on the joy Keenleyside found in philanthropy and explained that the funds have been invested in equipment and technology at PRHC that support cancer care innovation, in accordance with her request.

“Anne was clear she wanted her gift to connect her passion for scientific innovation with her desire to help the patients who would come after her,” said Heighway. “Her generosity has allowed the PRHC Foundation to fund a second MRI for PRHC’s Diagnostic Imaging Department, as well as fully upgrade a general operating suite with state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgical tools – one of four undertaken by the Foundation.”

“By directing her estate gift to the MRI and our minimally invasive surgical suites, her gift is already helping our hospital increase capacity and image quality for diagnostic scans and giving our general surgeons access to brand new, leading-edge tools to perform cancer surgeries,” Heighway added.

Dr. Lynn Mikula, PRHC President & CEO, agreed that the impact of Keenleyside’s gift is already being felt. Regarding the second MRI funded by her bequest, she said, “Thanks to Anne’s investment we’ve been able to increase our capacity, performing an additional 6,000 scans since the new unit became operational.”

PRHC Radiologist Dr. Peter Gianakopoulos elaborated. “The introduction of the second MRI has had significant benefits already. We’re able to do more, faster. Not only is this helping us address diagnostic wait times, we’re also able to produce much higher quality images in less time, while providing a significantly improved patient experience,” he said. “This equipment represents a huge leap forward in patient care. We’re so grateful for Anne’s support and the support of all donors.”

Mikula added that the investment in PRHC’s general operating suites is empowering the introduction of fluorescence-guided imaging, a process that involves the injection of contrast dyes or agents into a patient’s bloodstream prior to surgery, making their blood vessels, bile ducts and lymph nodes light up when combined with fluoroscopy.

“The impact of this new technology is significant,” said Mikula. “It’s already allowing our surgeons to operate with increased precision – an advancement that has tremendous implications for the treatment of bowel and other cancers.”

She continued, “It’s inspiring to know that there are donors like Anne who share PRHC’s vision – who care as much about our healthcare future as we do – and are willing to invest in us and the tools we need to make it a reality. On behalf of everyone here at PRHC, thank you to Anne, and all the donors like her, who are helping us deliver world-class care, close to home.”

Heighway said the decision to name the atrium in recognition of Keenleyside’s generosity was made in consultation with the hospital and her family. Many of her loved ones, as well as members of her cancer care team were on hand to celebrate the unveiling of the signage in her honour. Keenleyside’s partner, Pat Butler, said her family and friends are very happy about the naming.

“Anne’s gift to the hospital reflects her generous and thoughtful nature,” said Butler. “She was incredibly grateful for the expert and compassionate care she received at Peterborough Regional Health Centre and wanted to do something after she was gone to help make things better for others like her. This bequest is a gift to both her community and the healthcare professionals who cared for her after her diagnosis over 10 years ago.”

Download a copy of the PRHC Foundation’s related media release.