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.

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.

Doug Lavery sees the impacts of his monthly gifts first-hand

A volunteer stands in front of the hospital's main entrance

When Doug Lavery first started volunteering at PRHC 12 years ago, he’d already been a donor to the PRHC Foundation for decades. Doug is a way-finder at the hospital and as he helps patients and visitors navigate the building, he sees and hears about the outstanding care provided at PRHC.

“I see people coming through the front doors every day,” says Doug. “My role is to make them feel more comfortable and help them get where they need to go. If it’s appropriate, I try to lighten the situation with some conversation and I hear from them how much they appreciate the care they or a loved one are receiving.”

Doug’s family has also experienced that great care, but it was after volunteering that he understood how the quality of patient care is connected to fundraising. Because the government doesn’t fund equipment, PRHC counts on donations to fund the tools doctors, nurses and staff need to save and change lives every day.

“After volunteering and realizing the importance of what the Foundation does to support the hospital, I wanted to donate regularly. This is something I believe in,” he says. That’s why Doug became a monthly donor to the PRHC Foundation.

Consistent, ongoing support from monthly donors like Doug lets the Foundation provide both flexible and reliable funding for PRHC’s equipment needs. This means the Foundation can respond quickly to the hospital’s most urgent requests as they arise, while also providing sustainable funding for longer term planning.

Together we’ve invested in every corner of the Health Centre – something Doug witnesses every day as a volunteer. His gifts help PRHC invest in state-of-the-art technology, which then fuels innovation, brings lifesaving new services to our region, and helps the hospital attract the best and brightest healthcare professionals. Plus, monthly giving helps the Foundation save on administrative costs, making those donations – and those impacts – go even further.

“If I can contribute something to enable the hospital to acquire the best equipment, then attract the best personnel to work with that equipment, then the sky’s the limit for PRHC,” Doug explains. “Whether a donation is big or small, something positive is being done. You know you’re donating to a good cause now and for the future.”

Becoming a monthly donor is easy to do online, or for more information, please call 705-876-5000.

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.

“I will be eternally grateful to this community, for everything it has given to me and my family.”

PRHC Foundation Legacy Society member Ivo Nightingale explains how his bequest is a way of giving back for generations to come:

“I will be eternally grateful to this community, for everything it has given to me and my family. In fact, my life was saved at PRHC. That’s why I’m so set on giving back to the people of Peterborough, not just today, but for generations to come, through a gift in my Will to PRHC Foundation.

When it came time for estate planning and our financial advisor told my wife and me that we could reduce our estate taxes with a bequest, it made perfect sense to make a gift in our Will to the Foundation. We’ve made some provisions for our children and grandchildren, but we also think it’s important to do our part to leave them a strong regional hospital. We feel great knowing that our bequest will not only benefit our family, but also our neighbours and friends, along with the rest of our community.

I’m hoping that when you reflect on your own legacy and values, that you’ll seriously consider making a gift in your Will to the PRHC Foundation. Without affecting your lifestyle at all right now, you could have a huge impact on the lives of people in our community far into the future.”

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.

Giving back is a family tradition for this long-time Peterborough citizen

Retired banker Walter Howell says his father gave him some advice about giving back to the community that became words to live by. “Dad always said to try to give something back to the community. Take care of yourself, look after your family, but also try to do something for the community,” he says.

Like his parents before him, Walter was born and raised in Peterborough. The Howell name has a long history in Peterborough: his father, Walter Howell Sr., was a well-known lawyer and member of the community.

Over the course of his 37-year career with the bank, Walter Jr. has lived in many places, choosing to come home to Peterborough in the mid-‘90s, and retiring here a decade later. Being involved in the community has always been important to Walter, and he has given both time and financial donations to the causes that mean the most to him.

“There are many things that we need to support in a community,” says Walter. “The hospital is something that we’re all going to use at some point in our life.” As he sees it, the Peterborough Regional Health Centre is one of the pillars of our community because it plays such a key role for everyone, which is why supporting the hospital is a natural choice for him.

Walter also wants to help make sure that great care will always be available in the community for future generations. With career experience in banking and estate planning, he knew there was a way he could provide support for the future—through a gift in his Will to the PRHC Foundation.

As a professional, he has long been aware of what’s involved in making a gift through one’s Will. But he emphasizes that it’s easy for anyone to do. “A call to your financial advisor or lawyer is all you need to get things underway,” Walter says.

He adds that it’s something anyone can consider doing. “We often hear about the very large amounts that are donated to charity, but legacy gifts of all sizes make a real difference to our community,” he says.

“It’s not how much you give—it’s the fact that you do give.”

Walter advises that it’s important to regularly review your Will to make sure that it’s up-to-date, since families change and circumstances change.

This regular update also provides a convenient opportunity to include a charitable bequest.

As a father and grandfather, Walter knows that looking after family always comes first; but he also knows that he can look after his family and give something back to the community at the same time.

For Walter, helping to make sure Peterborough has a hospital that can maintain its high standard of care in the years to come is a way to look after his family, friends and neighbours.

“I want to know that in 20 or 30 years when the hospital gets my legacy gift, excellent care will be available for the citizens that are here at that time. Possibly even my own children and grandchildren.”

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.