When it comes to health care philanthropy, Lesley Heighway fosters passion and results

PRHC Foundation President and CEO has helped raise more than $25 million for our hospital over the past five years

In her role as President and CEO of the Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation, Lesley Heighway leads team of professionals and volunteers who have raised between $5 and $7 million every year for the hospital. (Photo: Heather Doughty)
In her role as President and CEO of the Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation, Lesley Heighway leads team of professionals and volunteers who have raised between $5 and $7 million every year for the hospital. (Photo: Heather Doughty)

Not too many of us can claim the work we do every day affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people of every age, ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic background — but Lesley Heighway can.

As President and CEO of the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) Foundation, Lesley works hard to bridge the ever-increasing gap between government funding and the necessary costs of providing high-quality care at our region’s hospital.

For seven years, Lesley has led a team of professionals and volunteers who raise between $5 and $7 million every year for PRHC — more than $25 million over the past five years alone.

“Many people don’t realize the government does not fund hospital equipment or technology,” she says. “That’s why the most generous communities have the best hospitals.”

Scotiabank's Michelle Powers, Community Manager, Kawartha Centre (left) and Nick Toritto, District Vice President Ontario Central East (centre) present Lesley Heighway, PRHC Foundation President & CEO, with a cheque for $100,000 in support of the growth and expansion of services at Peterborough Regional Health Centre's Pediatric Outpatient (POP) Clinic, including the expansion of pediatric oncology services. Thanks to their visionary support, fewer children will have to travel outside the region to receive lifesaving cancer treatment. (Supplied photo)
Scotiabank’s Michelle Powers, Community Manager, Kawartha Centre (left) and Nick Toritto, District Vice President Ontario Central East (centre) present Lesley Heighway, PRHC Foundation President & CEO, with a cheque for $100,000 in support of the growth and expansion of services at Peterborough Regional Health Centre’s Pediatric Outpatient (POP) Clinic, including the expansion of pediatric oncology services. Thanks to their visionary support, fewer children will have to travel outside the region to receive lifesaving cancer treatment. (Supplied photo)

These community donations fund the tools and technology that form the backbone of patient care at PRHC and help bring new lifesaving services to our region. Not only that, but a hospital’s ability to fund state-of-the-art equipment and technology is key to attracting and retaining the best and the brightest health care professionals, and to keeping the standard of care at PRHC on par with the top hospitals across Canada.

A tireless advocate and ambassador on behalf of PRHC, Lesley is clearly passionate about health care philanthropy. She’s personally helped thousands of people understand the tangible ways their donations are transforming health care.

“Donors are touching the lives of people they’ve never met every day,” she says. “Our role as a foundation is to give donors an opportunity to give back, while at the same time seeing how their donations are making a real difference in the lives of patients and their loved ones.”

The PRHC Foundation is committed to supporting the hospital’s Regional Centres of Excellence for cancer care, cardiac care, and vascular surgery — some of the fastest growing and most innovative areas of health care, and which serve a population of up to 600,000 people from across Peterborough County and beyond.

Lesley Heighway joins representatives from BEL Rotary and Subaru Peterborough at the kick off for the 2018 BEL Rotary Bike for Your Hospital, a fundraising ride taking place Saturday, September 15th in support of emergency patient care at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. Visit www.bikeforyourhospital.ca for details.  (Supplied photo)
Lesley Heighway joins representatives from BEL Rotary and Subaru Peterborough at the kick off for the 2018 BEL Rotary Bike for Your Hospital, a fundraising ride taking place Saturday, September 15th in support of emergency patient care at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. Visit www.bikeforyourhospital.ca for details. (Supplied photo)

With her wealth of business knowledge along an MBA specializing in leadership, Lesley aspires to match the private sector for innovation and creative thinking when it comes to fundraising, while still maintaining the warmth and compassion that fuels inspiration among her team.

In the last two years alone, Lesley has successfully led efforts to fund:

  • Three new mammography machines needed for breast cancer screening in PRHC’s Breast Assessment Centre, part of a $1.9 million campaign.
  • A $1 million investment in upgrading nine of PRHC’s 12 operating rooms for minimally invasive surgery, enabling PRHC to begin to transition from performing 35% of all surgeries using minimally invasive techniques to performing 80% that way.
  • An $850,000 investment in upgrading and expanding the Cardiac Cath Lab with vital technology upgrades that have significantly reduced procedural radiation exposure for both patients and PRHC physicians and staff, as well as technology that’s brought brand new cardiac treatments to our community for the first time.
  • $1.5 million in state-of-the-art laboratory equipment investments that enable faster, more accurate diagnosis and treatment, particularly in cancer care.
  • Other vital investments in patient care areas across the hospital from the Emergency Department to ICU, in Women’s and Children’s, Diagnostic Imaging, Cancer Care, Palliative Care and more.

VIDEO: Amy Semple shares how donors helped her survival

While the success of PRHC Foundation’s fundraising efforts speaks for itself, Lesley’s passion for philanthropy extends far beyond our community. She is involved with an advocacy and advisory group of regional hospital foundation CEOs from across the province. As one of Peterborough’s foremost experts in legacy giving (giving through estate plans), she takes a lead role in working with financial and legal advisors.

She also shares her extensive knowledge and experience with the community through a wide range of board and advisory roles with other organizations and service clubs, as well as a variety of coaching and mentoring relationships with up-and-coming fundraising and young business professionals.

While Lesley is the first to acknowledge that the success of the PRHC Foundation is not hers alone, there’s no denying the impact of her expertise in leadership, motivation, and workplace culture in that success.

“I’m extremely proud of my team and I’m dedicated to supporting them to achieve their highest potential,” she says. “It’s all about creating an organizational culture that fosters passion as well as results.”

The Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) Foundation is located at One Hospital Drive in Peterborough. For more information about the PRHC Foundation and how you can make great health care possible in our community, call 705-876-5000, email foundation@prhc.on.ca, or visit www.prhcfoundation.ca. You can also connect with the PRHC Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo.

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