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

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.

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Donor-funded care close to home kept a young cancer patient’s family together at the holidays – help them ensure the same for others

City of Kawartha Lakes parents Ian and Michelle say a dark cloud was cast over their lives last year when doctors delivered the news that their four-year-old daughter, Summer, had hepatoblastoma, a rare, “one in a million” form of liver cancer. Doctors explained that the tumour was large and perilously close to major blood vessels in Summer’s liver. Ian and Michelle were left speechless, in shock.

As the family tried to wrap their heads around their little girl’s diagnosis, Summer immediately had to begin cancer treatment in Toronto – a considerable distance from their home. They found themselves in a wild juggling act that added another layer of uncertainty and fear to the situation: uprooting their family, finding childcare for their son, requesting a leave of absence from work, and grappling with growing travel expenses.

“The trip to Toronto for Summer’s initial treatment wasn’t easy for our family,” says Michelle. “We’d hit the road at 4:45 a.m. to beat the traffic, but waking our little one so early was tough. She often felt nauseous during the drive, so we kept sickness bags handy. Our son stayed with his grandma when we had to stay in Toronto. It was heartbreaking to be separated from him.”

Relief came when doctors informed Ian and Michelle that Summer could continue her critical cancer care at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. “We can’t begin to describe what it was like to watch our child go through this. It’s a heavy burden that no child, no family should bear,” says Ian. “But getting our daughter’s care close to home made the challenges of her disease a little easier. It was a glimmer of light in our darkest hour. We were even able to be together for the holidays last year.”

He and Michelle credit generous PRHC Foundation donors for their role in Summer’s care at PRHC, since community donations – not the government – funded the incredible amount of equipment used by PRHC’s compassionate doctors, nurses and staff to provide critical cancer care services, all under one roof.

“We’ll never be able to express how truly thankful we are for donors’ past support of PRHC. They helped the experts save her life,” Michelle says.

Those wonderful healthcare providers are another reason the family is grateful for Summer’s care being delivered at PRHC. “The doctors and nurses treated us like extended family,” says Ian.

Today, Summer is happy and healthy, doing all the things a five-year-old should be doing: dancing, gymnastics, and making her wish list for Santa. Ian and Michelle now take each day as it comes, cherishing every moment with their young family and being mindful of how precious their time together is.

Getting care close to home had such an impact on them that they want to make sure it remains a possibility for others from across the region. “After Summer’s treatment, we decided to become donors. We wanted to do something to help. To say thank you for the extraordinary care Summer received, while making things more bearable for other families like ours, for all patients at PRHC,” says Ian.

Those patients come from the city and county of Peterborough, Northumberland County, east Durham, the Haliburton Highlands, and Lindsay and the City of Kawartha Lakes. In fact, the hospital serves a population of 600,000 people. That means there a lot of loved ones across our region who might have to seek care from PRHC during one of the toughest moments in their lives.

That’s why, at this time of year especially, ambassadors like Ian and Michelle are asking you to reflect on the importance of family and community and decide to help more patients get the care they need, where and when they need it most – right here – by donating to the PRHC Foundation.

You, too, can help shape the future of patient care at your hospital. To donate or for more information, call 705-876-5000 or click here.

Jellybean’s Market ornament sale in support of PRHC cancer care

Recently, Natasha from Jellybean’s Market in Peterborough shared with us the inspiration behind her ornament fundraiser in support of cancer care at Peterborough Regional Health Centre:
“If you know me personally, you know my dad has been fighting stage 4 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma for almost a year. Although he will never be cancer-free, he is most definitely a survivor.”

To help him say thanks for his care at PRHC, Natasha and her daughter joined forces to design and produce two different customizable Christmas ornaments. A portion of proceeds from each ornament sold will help support cancer care close to home at PRHC!

Ornaments are available to order online up to Christmas:

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.

A record-breaking donation from Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival!

Peterborough's Dragon Boat Festival cheque presentation to the PRHC Foundation

October 11th we joined the Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival Planning Committee, the Survivors Abreast Dragon Boat Team, Platinum Sponsor Kawartha Credit Union, volunteers, and supporters at the Crescent St. t-wharf for a celebration of the Festival’s record-breaking year. They presented the PRHC Foundation with a cheque for $290,025.18 – the largest single donation in the Festival’s history! 

PRHC Foundation President & CEO, Lesley Heighway, was there to express her gratitude for the Festival’s ongoing commitment to cancer care at Peterborough Regional Health Centre, on behalf of the Foundation, hospital, patients from across the region, and their loved ones. The Festival’s record-breaking 2023 success is a testament to our wonderful community’s generosity and will to come together for such an important cause. The efforts of so many organizers, paddlers, donors, sponsors, volunteers, and vendors have contributed to this amazing achievement.

You are transforming cancer care by helping PRHC invest in state-of-the-art technology to serve more patients, support earlier diagnosis, and provide safer, more effective treatments, close to home. Thank you!

Hometown team-work results in $64,870 donation from Petes Pink in the Rink!

On Tuesday, March 21, Peterborough Petes representatives and the Petes Pink in the Rink Hockey Moms were at PRHC to donate $64,870! – proceeds from the recent Pink in the Rink fundraising efforts, merchandise sales, game and auction – in support of expert, compassionate cancer care at PRHC. These funds will help the cancer care team serve more patients, support earlier diagnosis, and ensure safer, more effective treatments for patients from across our region.

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Cobourg resident was first patient at PRHC to receive new cancer treatment

Grateful patient Stuart Morley stands in front of the hospital

Two years ago, Cobourg resident Stuart Morley became the first PRHC patient to receive life-changing cancer treatment by interventional radiology radiofrequency ablation for a tumour on his kidney.

The amateur photographer tells how interventional radiologist Dr. Kebby King put a metal probe through a small cut in his skin and using a CT to guide her, found the tumour and dissolved it with radio waves. “It was amazing. I felt no pain and I was able to go home later that afternoon,” he says. “Now I’m back taking photos and looking forward to travelling the world again.”

Interventional radiology is often described as ‘the future of medicine.’ It’s used to diagnose and treat a wide range of emergency and chronic health conditions such as cancer and other illnesses, with less pain and risk, and shorter hospital stays.

Grateful for the great care he received and determined to help pave the way for new ground-breaking therapies to be offered at PRHC in the near future, Stuart donated to the PRHC Foundation.

He knows the need for interventional radiology is growing in our region. A $6 million investment in state-of-the-art equipment, upgraded suites, and an expanded recovery room are essential to meeting that need – so more patients, with more complex conditions can be diagnosed and treated close to home.

For more information on this exciting investment, please click here.

An update on PRHC: Realizing a truly regional health centre

A doctor performs a minimally invasive interventional radiology procedure.

Our donors often tell us that Peterborough Regional Health Centre sometimes feels like two hospitals in one. On one hand, they say the personalized, compassionate care provided today by PRHC’s healthcare professionals reminds them of the hospitals where their children were born.

On the other hand, the outstanding calibre of care, sheer scope of service, continuous introduction of new and innovative treatment options, and arrival of world-class experts, tells a different story.

We’re not just Peterborough’s hospital anymore. And that’s good news for everyone.

Becoming a Hub Hospital

The PRHC of 2022 is a significant player in provincial healthcare delivery. A fully regional health centre with an annual operating budget of $320 million, PRHC now supports regional referrals from five smaller partner hospitals within our catchment area, including Ross Memorial Hospital, Campbellford Memorial Hospital, Northumberland Hills Hospital, Minden Hospital, and Haliburton Highlands Hospital.

In fact, PRHC was recently designated by Ontario Health East, our regional health authority, as a fully integrated “hub” for care, similar to Kingston General Hospital, Lakeridge Health, and Scarborough Health Network. That means our hospital is now a peer of GTA facilities like North York General, Humber River Hospital, and Southlake Regional Health Centre.

These leaps forward did not happen by chance. They were realized thanks to the world-class care being provided by an outstanding healthcare team – care made possible by the state-of-the-art tools they’re able to use every day thanks to donor investments.

Accolades and Adversity

We’re very proud of the care being delivered at PRHC. This spring, the hospital achieved the highest possible Accreditation Canada results, receiving the designation “Accredited with Exemplary Standing” for the second time in a row.

Recently, PRHC was also awarded Stroke Distinction in Acute and Inpatient Rehabilitation Stroke Services by Accreditation Canada for the second time, indicating national leadership in the provision of high-quality stroke care.

These accolades would be amazing accomplishments in a normal year. They’re nothing short of exceptional during an ongoing crisis.

PRHC’s leadership and staff continue to respond to the tremendous challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re also working hard to address the difficulties presented by the current healthcare human resources crisis, rising wait times, and external issues like the ongoing shortage of family doctors.

Donors are helping shoulder these burdens, giving PRHC’s healthcare professionals hope that with donor support, we can meet any challenges that come our way.

At the same time, we’re keeping our eye on the future. The need for care in our region is only increasing as our population grows and ages. We can’t lose sight of the investments that must be made now in order to respond to future needs.

Interventional Radiology: Tiny incisions with extraordinary impact

Interventional radiology is used to diagnose and treat a wide range of emergency and chronic health conditions – without major surgery. Because it involves only a small incision and no general anesthetic, it results in less pain and shorter hospital stays.

To treat a much wider range of patient conditions and to pave the way for new, lifesaving therapies in the near future, we’re working with donors to invest $6 million into expanding PRHC’s two existing Interventional Radiology suites, building a new step-down unit, and furnishing all with the latest technology.

Cancer Care: Expert treatment, compassionate care

With your support, we’re also investing $13 million in excellence in cancer care so we can serve more patients, support earlier diagnosis, and ensure safer and more effective treatments. This includes technology like a second MRI, to allow for an additional 5,000 procedures a year (representing a 53% growth in volume), so our oncologists can help more cancer patients who have no time to wait.

A Bold Vision

PRHC has a bold vision for the future: to be the go-to large acute care hospital for patients between Kingston and the GTA. But to get there, we need you by our side.

We hope you’ll consider supporting our hospital this holiday season. Together, we’ll shape the future of healthcare in our region.