Thursday, February 12, 2015

Launch of the In Our Hands campaign

The Launch of the In Our Hands campaign was held at a private loft with a view of the CN Tower, on Feb. 10 in Toronto.

Visit the website here: to learn more about the campaign. Read some personal stories below, of how Rouge Valley's Urology program is changing and saving lives:

The week he was named Canada’s best crossing guard by SafeKids Canada, Carl Edquist learned he had aggressive prostate cancer and would be in for the fight of his life.

Recently retired from the Toronto Transit Commission, Mr. Edquist was enjoying life as a neighbourhood crossing guard and had time to hit the gym every day. He felt in great shape.
And then life threw him a curve ball.

After hearing news that his younger brother had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and, with his dad already living with the disease, Carl had opted for a PSA test “to be on the safe side.” A prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is standard for measuring prostate health. Carl’s was nearly 15 per cent higher than in most men his age.

“I was completely shocked,” said Carl, who lives in West Rouge with his family. “I had absolutely no symptoms and felt great.”

“Carl’s case was tough because the disease was so far advanced,” said Dr. Greg Trottier, a Urologist at Rouge Valley Health System. “I knew Carl was an active guy and didn’t want to take chances by using radiation therapy to get rid of the cancer. Surgery had to be the first option.”

Following the four-hour surgery, which involved removing the entire prostate, Carl had six weeks of radiation, with two years of hormone therapy to decrease the chance of recurrence.

“Dr. Trottier gives it his all and went for it during the surgery,” said Carl, who recently celebrated a milestone in the gym. “I’m now back to my presurgery strength at the gym.”

Every day patients are referred to RVHS urologists for surgery to correct urological disorders that range from straight-forward cases of kidney stones and incontinence to the most difficult cancer surgeries.

Then there are cases such as Heather Pugh’s.

After months of trying to find the medical reason for her fatigue and dramatic weight loss, Heather Pugh needed answers. Her family doctor explained that her CT scan showed a large mass near or on her kidney.

“By mass, you mean malignant tumour, right?” Heather asked, terrified at the word, ‘cancer.’

In a CT scan, cysts present as fluid, tumours as solid tissue; there was no mistaking the 15 cm tumour. According to Dr. Jeffrey Spodek, RVHS Division Head, Urology, kidney cancers can grow quite large without detection because there are few nerves in kidneys and therefore little pain.
Their location allows room for growth, so often kidney cancer is only discovered once it reaches an advanced stage. In Heather’s case, the cancer was too far advanced to save the affected kidney. “If we didn’t operate, the cancer would have spread and it’s quite likely that Heather wouldn’t be here with us today,” says Dr. Spodek. “We were happy to get Heather into surgery quickly, and with good results.”

Today, six years later, Heather, a car enthusiast, says she’s back to her active lifestyle.
Right now Rouge Valley urgently needs your help to ensure patients get the best care, aided by the best technology and proven approaches to care. Improvements to Rouge Valley’s surgical program will have an immediate, lasting impact that will be felt by thousands of our neighbours, family members and friends.

Be a part of some very exciting changes in Rouge Valley Health System’s Surgical Urology program.
To complete Rouge Valley’s Phase One investment, an additional $500,000 must be raised to renovate and equip a new cystoscopy suite at Rouge Valley Centenary hospital. With the larger cystoscopy operating table now on site, the plan is to redevelop a new suite that will better accommodate it, and properly house the GreenLight™ laser, laparoscopic technology and the advanced equipment designed specifically for the table.

Find out how you can help. For more information, contact Katherine Craine, Director, Major Gifts & Special Campaigns, at, or call 416-281-7119.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Volunteer Profile: Chris Balakrishna

Chris Balakrishna has been a member of the Auxiliary to Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering hospital for a relatively short time, just two years, but in his role at the information desk and in the MRI Unit on different days, his smile and kind demeanor are making an impact on many of those he has met so far.

He explains that he was inspired by his two daughters to become a volunteer, having seen them in different volunteer work when he lived in Windsor, before moving to Ajax in 2009. Retired since 2008, Mr. Balakrishna previously spent time driving people to medical appointments and as a driver for Meals on Wheels. What keeps him going is the personal interaction he enjoys with people he meets.

“One woman was walking by and then she came back after a moment and she said to me, ‘you have a beautiful smile, so welcoming’” he says. “Moments like that make me feel good to be giving back.”

In the MRI Unit, he prepares people for their scans and here he gets more interaction with people. Mr. Balakrishna marvels at the work the team do in that department.

“They are so good at what they do,” he says. “They are always smiling and they make patients comfortable by explaining every step.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Healing Hope Brunch returns in 2015!

Healing Hope Brunch

Purchase online here:

Or make a donation online here if you’re unable to attend, 
but would like to contribute to the cause. *

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Alice Dolorese (Lefebvre) Cameron's legacy to Centenary

John Cameron, centre, with his fiance Wendy Arnold, left,
presented a gift from the estate of his late aunt,
Alyce Dolorese Cameron, in December. 

In April 2014, Rouge Valley Health System Foundation received notification of a bequest to Rouge Valley Centenary hospital. As sometimes happens, the donor had never given to the Foundation and the provision in the Will was for 1/6th of any funds remaining in the residual of the Estate. What could this possibly mean? In December, we learned just how caring and generous the donor was as the Estate executor and nephew, John Cameron, came to Centenary to present the first cheque to the Foundation.

Born Alice Dolorese (Lefebvre) Cameron, in 1912, Ms. Cameron chose to reflect her proud French roots by styling her name ‘Alyce’. It was an expression of her unique attention to detail that was also reflected in her tasteful style, something that her nephew notes also added to her success in business.

Alyce and Jack Cameron met and married as employees of a silk screen printing company in Toronto in the early 40s. The two struck out to establish their own silk screening company which they ran together until Jack died of cancer in 1961. Mrs. Cameron kept the business running very successfully until selling the company in the 70s.

Alyce passed away in early 2014 when she was nearly 102 years old. Her generosity and attention to detail was evident in her Will as it was revealed that she selected 28 medical and educational institutions to receive a bequest, including a generous gift to RVHS.

“Alyce was retired for decades and obviously took the planning of her Will as a labour of love,” says Mr. Cameron. “Wendy (his fiancĂ©e) and I wanted to sort out the jigsaw of why she picked the 28 she did. We have found out wonderful stories about the many charities she included and found out that it was beautifully diverse. We look forward to learning more about Centenary hospital in the coming months as we finish delivering Alyce’s final gifts.”

Monday, December 1, 2014

New newsletter now available

The Fall/Winter 2014/15 Community Giving Newsletter is now available in the Foundation offices at Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering and Centenary hospital campuses.

If you prefer a printed copy, come by our office and say hi and we'll have a copy there for you!

If you can't wait to see it, you can download a PDF version to see on your computer or tablet, right here.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Mayor's Gala

This year’s Pickering Mayor’s Gala marked a decade as the premiere black-tie fundraiser for Durham Region. More than $1 million has been raised for Rouge Valley Ajax-Pickering Hospital and other important community organizations.
We revisited our roots, the Festival of Trees, in celebration of our hospital’s 60th anniversary.
Guests experienced the awe-inspiring beauty of a Winter Wonderland –without the cold. They recaptured that sense of wonder and joy of fresh snow from our youth.
The funds raised during this memorable evening go directly back into our community supporting those in need. Once again, the majority of the funds will support Rouge Valley Ajax-Pickering hospital –our community’s most valuable asset. A portion of the funds will also support Luke’s Place, Wounded Warriors, Joanne’s House, and the Jennifer Ashleigh Children’s Charity.
We could not make such a real difference without the support of our community and corporate partners.
See all of the photos here.

Santa Claus Parades

The Rouge Valley Health System Foundation, through the generous support of Board member Dr. Romas Stas, entered a float in this year's Santa Claus parades, in both Pickering (morning) and Ajax (evening) on Nov. 27.
The float featured pictures of the hospital and staff over the years, celebrating the 60 years of the Ajax and Pickering hospital serving the two communities.