20 Years of Hope Classic Fundraising Benefits the Linda Buchan Centre
by Sara Chow
“The money is great, but it’s the support of the Hope Classic that makes me think ‘what can I do to improve care and make it better for our patients.”
That’s how Shelley Kallos, Charge Technologist at the Linda Buchan Centre for Breast Screening and Assessment (LBC), at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), feels about one of Northwestern Ontario’s most successful fundraising events. The LBC is a specialized centre for breast imaging that provides world-class services in Northwestern Ontario. However, the state-of-the-art centre would not be where it is today without the support of the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic Curling Bonspiel.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the popular, long-running women’s curling bonspiel, which is set to run February 5-7, 2016 at the Fort William Curling Club. Over the past 20 years, the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic, powered by a group of dedicated volunteers, sponsors and participants, has raised $2,695,000 through the Northern Cancer Fund for breast cancer services in the Northwest region. Throughout its history, the funds raised by this bonspiel have been used for the Breast Cancer Support Group, breast cancer services, and since 2006, to help support TBRHSC’s Linda Buchan Centre, named in honour of the bonspiel’s founder, Linda Buchan who passed away from cancer in 2002.
“I have had the privilege of working at the LBC since its inception. Although mammography has been a core part of the Diagnostic Imaging Department since we came to the new site, we became a specialized centre for breast imaging when we developed the Linda Buchan Centre,” says Kallos, also a long-time Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic participant. “With the outstanding support of the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic, we have created a centre that is second-to-none in the country.”
Each year, the LBC sees between 5, 000 to 6,000 patients. “This number is a combination of screening mammography, follow-up imaging from screening or interventional procedures, such as biopsies or pre- operative needle localizations. This divides down to roughly 120-150 patients per week. We do on average 2 to 3 mammography guided biopsies and 7 to 8 ultrasound guided biopsies per week,” explains Kallos.
Thanks to donors who pledge women in the bonspiel, funds raised have allowed the LBC to advance care by purchasing more sophisticated equipment, investing in even more specialized training for their staff, and creating a unique environment within TBRHSC. To help create a respectful and calming atmosphere within the LBC, the walls are painted blues and purples to create a soothing environment, the waiting room feels more like your friend’s living room and there are plants around to soften the clinical environment. When asked about the atmosphere when a patient comes to LBC, Kallos says, “We hope that we are able to ease any fears, and create a comfortable and calming atmosphere. Our clients feel respected when they come here. They know they are in good hands and leave with knowledge and security.”
Overall, LBC staff, like Kallos, are grateful for the support of the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic and its volunteers, donors, sponsors and participants because it allows them to enhance care every day.
The Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic will take place from February 5th to 7th, 2016 at the Fort William Curling Club. For more information about the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic, visit: www.bearskinairlineshopeclassic.com. For more information on breast cancer screening, visit: www.tbrhsc.net/cancerscreening.
Give a woman the best chance possible to fight breast cancer When you pledge a curler in the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic, you’re helping a woman today who’s using the services of the Linda Buchan Centre and giving her the best chance possible to fight breast cancer. To make a pledge: Visit hopeclassic.kintera.org