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Paterson Foundation $500,000 Gift to Cyclotron

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 Paterson Foundation $500,000 Gift to Cyclotron

Thunder Bay, ON ---– March 11, 2015  -----  Today, standing just outside the bunker of the newly installed Cyclotron in Thunder Bay's the Health Services Centre, Chair of the Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign, Paul Fitzpatrick, welcomed representatives from The Paterson Foundation to announce a spectacular gift to the Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign, specifically directed to the Cyclotron. 

“We were delighted to witness the Cyclotron’s arrival here in Thunder Bay exactly one month ago today,” remarked Donald Paterson, President, The Paterson Foundation. “This incredible equipment is a beacon of hope for cancer patients across Northwestern Ontario, and, indeed, even further afield as the research completed here will, ultimately, guide diagnoses and treatment potentially worldwide. Recognizing the tremendous value of the cyclotron and its potential, the Paterson Foundation would like to issue a challenge to our community to ensure we have the required funds to commission the Cyclotron now that it is here.”

Continued Paterson, “I am pleased to announce that, for each dollar given to the Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign between now and April 26, the Paterson Foundation will match that donation, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $500,000. Our goal is to raise $1 million to activate the Cyclotron, but we need this community’s help!  Let’s make certain that, on April 26, the Paterson Foundation comes forward with a cheque for $500,000.”

“Our family has a proud history of bringing state-of-the-art technology to Thunder Bay to ensure patients get the care they need close to home,” added Robert Paterson, Director, The Paterson Foundation and Treasurer, Board of Directors, Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute. “Back in 1952, Senator Norman M. Paterson gifted a Cobalt 60 Beam Therapy Unit to the Port Arthur General Hospital, which was welcomed in 1954, to provide radiation therapy. The ‘Cobalt Bomb’ was considered a huge medical advancement in its day, much like the Cyclotron is to us today. We are pleased to continue the philanthropic spirit of Senator Paterson through our gift and it is with great pride that we stand behind this project and ask our community to do the same.”

“The Paterson Foundation has shown exceptional leadership today with this announcement and I thank them for their belief and desire to advance cancer care in Thunder Bay,” commented Dr. Mark Henderson, Executive Vice President, Patient Care Services, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Regional Vice President, Cancer Care Ontario. “I am certain that this community, which has always been amazing with its energy and vision, will be inspired by The Paterson Foundation to give generously to the Cyclotron.”

The Cyclotron project has a long history and has been in place since the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute Board of Directors took shape. “Our Board saw the opportunity to have the Cyclotron in Thunder Bay as one that was multi-faceted,” said Keith Jobbitt, Director, Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute. “Not only will the Cyclotron greatly enhance patient care, it is a magnet for recruiting scientists and will provide economic benefit due to our ability to sell isotopes. I invite everyone to stand behind this project with as much conviction as The Paterson Foundation.”

Michael Campbell, Director, Cyclotron Operations, Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute has been on the project since Day 1 and can hardly contain his excitement over the fact that the Cyclotron has arrived. “We have planned for years to bring the Cyclotron to Thunder Bay and now we are just months away from getting the Cyclotron commissioned and working to produce isotopes, both for medical imaging and research. The support of The Paterson Foundation is highly motivating for our team, each of whom is each dedicated to revolutionizing patient care.”

Isotopes made from the Cyclotron will be used for sophisticated diagnostic imaging procedures that are minimally invasive and that can monitor disease response. For example, PET/CT imaging uses isotopes to ‘light up’ areas within the body that are cancerous. However, the isotopes have extremely short half-lives and decay rapidly. Prior to having a Cyclotron in Thunder Bay, isotopes were flown in and were at the mercy of a variety of delays, sometimes resulting in cancelled scans. Having a Cyclotron on-site will mean patients will never face a delay due to isotope shortage. Additionally, Thunder Bay’s Cyclotron has enough capacity to allow scientists to develop new imaging agents that will help diagnose cancer and help physicians choose specific therapies to benefit patients.

“The Paterson Foundation’s gift matching challenge is remarkable and will ensure we get that much closer to our goal of raising $5.9 million for Exceptional Cancer Care ,” remarked Fitzpatrick.  “Not only has The Paterson Foundation shown extraordinary leadership with this gift to the Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign, but their challenge to our community further demonstrates their commitment to raising funds for the life-altering equipment that cancer patients and their families deserve.  As we approach our campaign end date of April 26, I am confident that, with the challenge issued by The Paterson Foundation and the generosity of our community, we will reach our $5.9 million goal so that each patient facing a cancer diagnosis has the best equipment available, giving them Hope throughout their entire journey.”

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