The UHKF Women’s Giving Circle (WGC) is a group of women who come together to support ground-breaking medical research at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) and Providence Care. Since allocating their first grants in 2013, the WGC has raised almost $300,000 for research projects in Kingston. These grants fund a diverse range of areas, including the detection of cancers in aging adults, the control of salmonella infections, and individually tailored treatments to fight depression.
The 2019 grant was for one of the most exciting projects to date. The WGC granted $40,000 to Dr. D. J. Cook, a KHSC neurosurgeon, who is developing the ArcheOptix handheld scanner. This device can scan a patient’s brain with a simple swipe, potentially detecting brain bleeds before they become life-threatening. The scanner is a portable device. This means patients can be assessed remotely, thereby eliminating the need to come to the hospital for a CT scan. It has the potential to be a truly revolutionary piece of equipment.
“Progression with the scanner has been great,” says Dr. Cook. “The grant from UHKF helped us collect further clinical data which allowed us to make refinements and improvements to the technology. The gift also supported and enhanced the education of graduate students and fellows working on this project. It is a very exciting time in the development of this technology.”
With an annual membership fee of $500 ($250 for those under 40-years-old), the donations from the WGC are pooled and the winner is chosen by a secret ballot. Two luncheons, which are sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart, and a hospital tour where members are educated on current developments are included in membership, but it is being involved with projects like Dr. Cook’s that makes being part of the WGC so exciting.
“To think that we might possibly save someone’s life, that’s really remarkable,” says Patty Petkovich, WGC Chair. “Getting funds for medical research is very difficult in this day and age and it’s only getting worse, especially after COVID-19. But our donations go directly towards these projects.”
The research that is funded through the WGC has wonderful benefits for the whole community and truly shows the power and effectiveness of people coming together to support local health care.
“The grant is a tribute to the generous, selfless and innovative nature of the women in the group,” says Dr. Cook. “I’d like to extend my sincerest thanks to the WGC for the support my work has received. It’s really inspiring to see this local initiative show critical foresight by investing in, and supporting, some of the brightest minds in our community.”
To become a WGC member, click here.