The cardiac centre at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) has been dedicated to philanthropist James “Jim” Neill, who donated $5 million to the PRHC Foundation in 2021 — the largest donation in the foundation’s history.
At a dedication event on Thursday (March 30) attended by Neill and his family and friends, signage was unveiled on the exterior northeast corner of the hospital proclaiming the ‘James B. Neill Cardiac Centre’.
When he made his historic gift to the PRHC Foundation in 2021, Neill said he was inspired after moving back to the Peterborough area and realizing how important it is to have cardiac care services close to home.
“Where I used to live in Toronto, there were four hospitals within a 15-minute drive of my home — all of which offered lifesaving emergency cardiac care,” Neill said in 2021. “As I understand it, it’s essential that we limit the time and distance our loved ones, friends, and neighbours need to travel to get to get the same standard of care. I want to be part of that process of providing very timely cardiac care close to home.”
As Thursday’s dedication event, Neill expressed his appreciation to the hospital and his hope that his donation will inspire others to support the hospital.
“To have my name on the side of the building, to see it associated with such an outstanding hospital and such exceptional and talented health care professionals, is a great honour,” Neill said. “It’s my hope that when patients, visitors, and staff look up and see it, they’ll be encouraged and inspired to support their hospital in whatever way they can, much as the donors who came before inspired me. Thank you for granting me the opportunity to be part of the great tradition of philanthropy that has been part of PRHC’s history since the beginning.”
PRHC Foundation president and CEO Lesley Heighway said Neill’s donation is already empowering the hospital to respond to the rapidly growing needs of the region through the enhancement and expansion of cardiac services.
“We’ve come together this afternoon to commemorate an act of visionary generosity so transformational, it’s not only improving the quality of care available at PRHC today, it’s actively shaping the future of cardiac care in our region,” Heighway said. “Together with our community of donors, Mr. Neill is saving and improving the lives of thousands upon thousands of present and future patients and for that, as well as the inspiration his donation will provide to so many, we’re incredibly grateful.”
Dr. Warren Ball, interventional cardiologist and head of the cardiology division at PRHC, said Neill and other donors are supporting lifesaving and minimally invasive cardiac diagnosis and stenting in the hospital’s two cardiac catheterization laboratory suites, where were replaced and upgraded using state-of-the art technology in December.
“Our new cath lab technology provides images of even greater diagnostic quality, while using less radiation — meaning it supports shorter procedures and is even safer for patients,” Dr. Ball said. “We’re able to treat more patients locally, helping to eliminate the time and stress of travelling to a bigger centre for cardiac services.”
PRHC president and CEO Dr. Peter McLaughlin said Neill’s $5 million donation will play a pivotal role in the delivery of cardiac care at PRHC for years to come, allowing the hospital to realize their vision for expanded cardiac services.
“Donor support is unlocking opportunities and ensuring the people, infrastructure, systems and programs are in place to usher in a new era of care in our region,” McLaughlin said. “Your generosity says our community believes in our vision and that you, and others like you, stand beside us. Thank you.”