Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival raises $196,469 for breast cancer screening

Funds will support new state-of-the-art mammography machines at Peterborough Regional Health Centre

PRHC Foundation President and CEO Lesley Heighway (left) accepts a donation of $196,468.50 from members of Survivors Abreast and Peterborough's Dragon Boat Festival as PRHC President and CEO Dr. Peter McLaughlin and Peterborough mayor Daryl Bennett look on (photo: Impact Communications / PRHC Foundation)
PRHC Foundation President and CEO Lesley Heighway (left) accepts a donation of $196,468.50 from members of Survivors Abreast and Peterborough's Dragon Boat Festival as PRHC President and CEO Dr. Peter McLaughlin and Peterborough mayor Daryl Bennett look on (photo: Impact Communications / PRHC Foundation)

On Thursday (October 6), members of Survivors Abreast and Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival visited Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) to present the PRHC Foundation with a cheque for $196,468.50, representing the proceeds of the 2016 event held earlier this summer at Del Crary Park in Peterborough.

PRHC staff members came from across the hospital to cheer the festival organizers and volunteers, along with the festival’s dragon mascot.

Festival chair Debbie Keay announced the fundraising total from the 2016 festival surpassed the previous year by 20%, bringing the total funds raised by Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival over the past 16 years to $2,991,636.69.

“Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival is truly a community event — 49 sponsors, 66 teams, 200-plus volunteers, 1300-plus participants, and thousands of donors made this donation possible,” Keay said. “It’s proof of this community’s generosity and commitment to making sure that the very best breast cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment is always available right here in our community.”

The funds will support the purchase of three new full field digital mammography machines for PRHC’s Breast Assessment Centre. The centre performs 8,000 mammograms each year using its existing three mammography machines, which are now eight years old and need to be replaced.

Staff at Peterborough Regional Health Centre cheer on Peterborough's Dragon Boat Festival organizers and volunteers (and the dragon mascot, inhabitated by Billy Thornton) as they arrive at the hospital with the cheque  (photo: Impact Communications / PRHC Foundation)
Staff at Peterborough Regional Health Centre cheer on Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival organizers and volunteers (and the dragon mascot, inhabitated by Billy Thornton) as they arrive at the hospital with the cheque (photo: Impact Communications / PRHC Foundation)

The new state-of-the-art machines are capable of three-dimensional imaging, which provides clearer images so that doctors can catch anomalies in the breast sooner. This helps minimize false positives and reduce the number of call backs, lowering stress and anxiety for both patients and their families.

Both Lesley Heighway, PRHC Foundation President and CEO, and Dr. Peter McLaughlin, PRHC President and CEO, were on hand to accept the donation, which is a significant contribute towards the $1.9-million cost of the new machines.

“Thanks to this incredible contribution, we’re just over one third of the way to funding three new full field digital mammography machines for PRHC’s Breast Assessment Centre,” Heighway said. “Being here with all of you and receiving a cheque that represents the incredible hard work and generosity of literally thousands of people never ceases to inspire and humble me.”

Members and volunteers of Survivors Abreast and Peterborough's Dragon Boat Festival celebrate the funds raised at the 2016 festival with staff from the PRHC Foundation and PRHC, including  Dr. Rola Shaheen (third from right), who is Chief of Radiology and Medical Director of Diagnostic Imaging (photo: PRHC Foundation)
Members and volunteers of Survivors Abreast and Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival celebrate the funds raised at the 2016 festival with staff from the PRHC Foundation and PRHC, including Dr. Rola Shaheen (third from right), who is Chief of Radiology and Medical Director of Diagnostic Imaging (photo: PRHC Foundation)

Survivors Abreast President Leah Carroll said they are proud of the incredible impact Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival has had since its inception in 2001.

“Experts predict that one in nine Canadian women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes and we know firsthand that early detection is critical,” she said.

“As a community we cannot afford to let the standard of care that we’ve helped establish slip. That’s why we’re very proud to support our hospital as they continue to look for better, faster and more innovative ways to save lives by identifying this disease early on.”

PRHC's Breast Assessment Centre performs 8,000 mammograms per year (6,000 breast screenings and 2,000 follow-up procedures)  on the centre's mammography units. The new 3D-capable mammography machines would minimize the number of false positives, reducing the number of call backs and lowering stress and anxiety for both patients and their families. (Photo: Linda McIlwain / kawarthaNOW)
PRHC’s Breast Assessment Centre performs 8,000 mammograms per year (6,000 breast screenings and 2,000 follow-up procedures) on the centre’s mammography units. The new 3D-capable mammography machines would minimize the number of false positives, reducing the number of call backs and lowering stress and anxiety for both patients and their families. (Photo: Linda McIlwain / kawarthaNOW)

Crystal Dayman, VP of Marketing and Communications at Kawartha Credit Union — which has been the festival’s Platinum sponsor since 2002 — explained why Kawartha Credit Union continues to support the event year after year.

“Supporting the well-being of the communities we serve is one of Kawartha Credit Union’s guiding principles,” she said. “To date, our Community Involvement Program has donated over $2 million to causes that matter most to our members. Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival is one such cause and we congratulate the Festival on their incredible fundraising success this year.”

Planning is already underway for next year’s festival, scheduled for Saturday, June 10, 2017, with fundraising goals and festival details to be announced early in the new year.

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