Community events helping to fund world-class cancer care

Group of Dragon Boat paddlers with giant cheque

Through your support of incredible community events like Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival, Couture Candy’s recent sweet treat fundraiser and the upcoming “Cancer Takedown 2022”, you’re investing in world-class cancer care at PRHC, helping your hospital to serve more patients, support earlier diagnosis, and ensure safer and more effective treatments.

This includes investments like a second MRI, to allow for an additional 5,000 procedures a year (representing a 53% growth in volume), and robotic preparation of chemotherapy medications – the same chemotherapy preparation system found at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and the next logical step for our Centre of Excellence for Cancer Care.

Last month, Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival announced that they beat their goal and raised an amazing $202,268.41! And just recently, the team at Couture Candy PTBO donated a spectacular $16,700 raised through “Supporting Cancer Care is Sweet”!

Next, local celebrities Kate Suhr, Melissa Payne, Linda Kash, Megan Murphy and friends will present “Cancer Takedown 2022”. Please join them November 16 at Market Hall for an evening of song, story and solidarity in support of cancer care at PRHC. Tickets are available by phone at 705-775-1503, at the Market Hall box office (140 Charlotte Street – 3rd floor, Monday-Friday 12-5pm), or online.

Because of the inspiring hard work and generosity of event organizers and the participation of wonderful people like you, cancer patients from across our region can receive the expert, specialized care they need, close to home – instead of having to travel. Thank you!

Impact Spotlight: Donor-funded ED equipment is helping save patients’ sight

A doctor examines a patient's eyes using a slit lamp

Last year, more than 76,000 patients visited Peterborough Regional Health Centre’s Emergency Department (ED) in search of urgent, expert healthcare. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it’s historically one of the busiest EDs in the province.

Throughout the year, emergency physician Dr. Aidan Cunniffe and his colleagues use an ophthalmology microscope known as a slit lamp up to 2,000 times to diagnose urgent eye health issues and help save patients’ sight. This essential equipment many of us have encountered during a scheduled eye exam includes a binocular microscope and a strong, concentrated light.

Used so often, the slit lamp wore out last year and was replaced – not like-for-like – but with more advanced equipment funded by PRHC Foundation donors. The new technology is more reliable and instead of incandescent light bulbs that regularly burn out, features powerful, long-lasting LED light.

Dr. Cunniffe uses the lamp to examine a patient’s eyes and get a clear, 3-D look at what is happening in and around them. By adjusting the light, he can look at different parts of the eyes and face, including the skin around the eye, the eyelids and lashes, the surface and other layers of the eye, and the retina. The lamp helps him spot foreign bodies, abrasion of the cornea, signs of impact or detachment of the retina, and infection.

“Occupational injuries are a common emergency eye health issue we see in the ED,” says Dr. Cunniffe. “Recently a patient who had been injured at work came in with a lacerated cornea – a cut into the eyeball. He’d lost his vision. The slit lamp helped me diagnose the injury quickly, expediting an emergency eye surgery to save his sight.”

It’s crucial that PRHC’s emergency doctors, nurses and staff have the technology necessary to diagnose patients and get them the best treatment as soon as possible. Because the government doesn’t fund equipment, PRHC counts on donors to fund the lifesaving and life-changing tools the hospital’s healthcare providers need – essentials like the slit lamp.

“Thank you, donors,” says Dr. Cunniffe. “Because of your generosity the new slit lamp is helping me provide vital care to patients from across the region.”

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.

Requesting a consolidated or duplicate 2021 charitable donation receipt

Blue heart icon with hospital icon inside

To support our donors in preparing their taxes in good time, the PRHC Foundation is now preparing consolidated charitable donation receipts for 2021, and will have these in the mail no later than February 28, 2022. Please allow 10 days for Canada Post delivery; however, if you’re expecting a consolidated receipt and haven’t received it by March 12, please give us a call at 705-876-5000 or send us an email.

If you were previously issued a charitable donation receipt for 2021 and are requesting a duplicate, please provide us with your full name, mailing address, and the amount of the donation made to the PRHC Foundation in 2021. We’ll reissue your receipt and get it in the mail to you within 10 business days.

Historic $5 million donation to Cardiac Care

Dr. Warren Ball, Lesley Heighway, Jim Neill and Dr. Peter McLaughlin

PRHC has been supported by a tradition of philanthropy since its beginning. Now, a generous community member has stepped forward to honour that tradition and inspire others by making the largest donation in PRHC Foundation history: A $5 million commitment to PRHC’s Cardiac Centre of Excellence from donor Jim Neill.

Mr. Neill’s gift will have a transformational impact on patient care now and in the future, explains Dr. Warren Ball, PRHC Interventional Cardiologist & Head of Division, Cardiology. “This gift will help keep our hearts here today by investing in significantly improved technology,” he says, “and when you add state-of-the-art technology to our exceptional patient care, his investment will empower us to pursue our vision for tomorrow.”

Dr. Ball continues, “While the planning for this exciting opportunity is in the early stages, we’re committed to ensuring our patients have access to the finest, most comprehensive cardiac care available, right here at PRHC.”

Lesley Heighway, PRHC Foundation President & CEO, agrees. “As Dr. Ball said, our hospital has exciting plans for the future of cardiac care. It will take the collective support of donors to stoke the flames of innovation,” says Lesley, “but it takes the support of a visionary leader to ignite the spark. Mr. Neill’s incredible $5 million investment in cardiac care will do just that. We’re so grateful for his gift.”

For a time, Mr. Neill was based in Toronto where he lived minutes from multiple hospitals. He realized the significance of having a world-class Health Centre to serve a regional population when he moved back to the Peterborough area.

“I really appreciated how different it is here,” he says, “but you need the same care. I wanted to be part of that process of providing very timely cardiac care close to home. And they’ve got such great plans for the future, I thought I could make a contribution and be part of that.”

Inspiring others to join him in contributing to the healthcare of the region – no matter the size of the donation – is also a major consideration for Mr. Neill. “I hope that my donation will encourage and inspire others, as donors who have come before have inspired me,” he says.

Learn more about how to make an impact on Cardiac Care at PRHC.

Fundraising Spotlight: Together we’re working to keep our hearts here

PRHC's Interventional Cardiologists pose in the Cardiac Cath Lab

PRHC’s Interventional Cardiologists (from left to right) Dr. Katy Shufelt, Dr. Warren Ball and Dr. Phong Nguyen-Ho want to say a big “thank you!” to everyone who has donated so far to replace and upgrade PRHC’s regional Cardiac Cath Lab.

Through generous community events, mail appeals, business partnerships, and organization and individual donations, you’ve helped us to keep world-class, lifesaving cardiac care close to home!

Learn more about the Cardiac Cath Lab.

Lions Club of Peterborough donates in support of world-class care!

Lions Club of Peterborough makes a donation

Thank you, Lions Club of Peterborough, for supporting world-class care at your regional hospital! This wonderful donation of $1,600 from the Lions will help fund the equipment and technology that support the Cardiac Cath Lab and Paediatric Oncology at Peterborough Regional Health Centre.

Thanks to donors like the Lions, we can help ensure our families, friends, and neighbours can continue to get world-class cardiac care, right here in our community, when every second counts.

And it’s with the support from donors, that PRHC is home to a Paediatric Oncology Satellite Clinic in partnership with the Paediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) and SickKids Hospital. As a result, fewer children have to travel for lifesaving cancer treatment, helping ease the burden for patients and families.