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Spirit Day to raise money for hospital equipment is this Thursday

Dream team in place to try to raise money for beds to enhance precision radiation cancer treatment

A dream team of 20 local business leaders has a lofty goal of raising $100,000 in one day.

That day is known as Spirit Day and this Thursday they will try to make that dream come true to help people in need of precision radiation cancer therapy.

It’s part of a day-long fundraising event to enable the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation to provide better medical equipment to serve the people of northern B.C.

BC Cancer for the North, one of six regional cancer clinics in the province, has become a leader in radiation treatments and the work of its research team of oncologists, technicians and support staff is finding that precision radiation treatments are producing better outcomes for patients.

But more equipment is needed for research and clinical trials now being done at the centre on Lethbridge Street adjacent to University Hospital of Northern B.C., to enable that work to continue and to expand and the money raised by the dream team will be used for that purpose.

“This is a group of people who really care a lot about northern B.C. and its people,” said dream team fundraiser Christie Ray, part of the ambassador program for the BC Cancer Foundation. “Precision radiation therapy is a form of cancer care with the associated research being done by doctors right here in Prince George and precision radiation already exists here but in order to move this research and technology forward there’s some new beds required that allow them to pinpoint and work on more that one tumour at a time.”

Having the new beds to access multiple tumours at one time will shorten the time needed for each treatment and will allow more patients to be treated. If Prince George had the precision radiation beds, it would eliminate the need for patients who require that type of treatment to have to travel to cancer centres in Kelowna or the Lower Mainland. The research and clinical trials are being conducted locally under the leadership of radiation oncologist Dr. Robert Olson.

“It’s absolutely incredible what kind of success they’re having and how these doctors are being recognized all over the world for this type of work,” said Ray. “It’s something I really wanted t be part of as someone who loves northern B.C. and wants to give back to a community and place that’s give so much to me.

“It is a very lofty fundraising goal and our team has one hour, between 1 and 2 p.m. (on Spirit Day) and we are going to be calling all our contacts. A lot of us have friends and business contacts who have committed to helping support this amazing cause and we are confident/hopeful we will reach our goal and then some.”

Spirit of the North is able to access matching funds that would double the amount raised up to $75,000. Ray said the Thun family of Prince George has agreed to donate $25,000 to top up the matching funds as the team approaches its $100,000 goal.The dream team includes Mayor Lyn Hall, MLA Shirley Bond and MP Todd Doherty.

Spirit Day headquarters are at Prestige Treasure Cove Resort, 2205 Cariboo Highway, and people will be there on their phones funneling donations to the foundation from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Spirit Day started in 2017 and last year, despite the pandemic, it raised $110,000.

“We’re super-excited for Spirit Day, we’re looking to raise money for a bunch of different initiatives for UHNBC,” said Spirit of the North Heathcare Foundation CEO Aimee Cassie.

“We’ve got the dream team trying to fundraise for precision radiation and we’ve also got fundraising going on for seniors health and wellness and for our pediatrics and neonatal intensive care unit for our Giraffe (incubator) care stations. They allow babies stay in those care stations to continue to develop in a very safe environment and the parents can stay closer to the baby for longer and they’re state-of-the-at so they can manoeuvre and move so that the baby’s not getting handled as much.”

Some of the money raised from previous Spirit Day blitzes provided an adolescent calming room for children traumatized by loved ones being treated for medical conditions which has just been opened at UHNBC.

Donors can also direct funds to one of the foundation’s active campaigns; Cancer Care, Respiratory Health, Mental Health and Wellness, Seniors Health and Wellness, Pediatrics, Lymphedema, or Area of Greatest Need. Every donation of $99 or $101 dollars sends a Spirit Bear to the pediatrics floor to young patients.

Donors can call 250-565-2800, or donate online at or drop by for an in-person visit the hotel for a barbecue lunch at Grant Trunk Tavern with proceeds supporting Spirit Day.

“Last year we did $110,000 on Spirit Day and our hope is to do that again this year,” said Cassie. “We’ve got a ton of support from sponsors who will come in and start phoning their contacts and will be answering the phones for us throughout the day.”