Nanaimo resident donates $2 million to bring PET/CT technology to Island cancer patients

December 1, 2017

Found in News

VICTORIA, B.C. – Today, the BC Cancer Foundation announced an incredible $2 million donation from Nanaimo resident Gordon Heys to bring a critical PET/CT scanner to BC Cancer – Victoria. The donation caps the BC Cancer Foundation’s $5 million campaign for PET/CT on Vancouver Island, meaning this life-saving cancer diagnostic tool is one step closer to thousands of families in need.

“We are incredibly inspired by Gordon Heys’ investment in BC Cancer,” says Sarah Roth, president & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation. “Families across the Island will benefit from Gordon’s generosity and that of more than 3,500 donors to ensure people in our communities have world-leading cancer care close to come.”

BC Cancer Foundation Vancouver Island Centre
L to R: Dr Sam Kader, Ralph Mundel (thrifty foods), Diane Heys, Gordon Heys, Sarah Roth, Kelly Nysted 

This past year Heys was shocked by a cancer diagnosis. His treatments included months of radiation therapy and chemotherapy at the BC Cancer Vancouver Island Centre. Thankful for the care he received, Heys was motivated to give back with the $2 million, one of the largest donations received for BC Cancer – Victoria.

“While taking my radiation treatment, I was very impressed by the hardworking people dedicated to improving the outcome and enhancing the experience of patients with cancer here on the Island,” says the Nanaimo-based residential real estate developer and businessman.

“Cancer is something that almost half of all people will have to face in their lives, so to all those people and the special friends in my life who have been affected by cancer I make this gift with pride, humility, and as a tribute my wonderful family.”



Currently, close to 1,500 Island residents travel to Vancouver each year for a PET/CT scan, critical in cancer diagnosis, staging and treatment planning. There are two PET/CT scanners in the province, both housed at the BC Cancer Vancouver Centre. Recent stats suggest one in two people will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime and the rise in cases will place growing demand on cancer services across B.C.

“A PET/CT scanner enables oncologists to develop the most appropriate treatment plan for people facing cancer,” says Dr. Pete Tonseth, radiologist and nuclear medicine physician at BC Cancer.

“It often means patients can be spared procedures and treatments that may be unnecessary depending on their prognosis, such as surgery or radiation therapy.”

The BC Cancer Foundation kicked off the $5 million fundraising campaign last December with a commitment to bring PET/CT technology to the Island. The campaign launched with a gift of $1 million from long-time supporter Thrifty Foods and quickly rallied close to 1800 people from every community.

The BC Cancer Foundation is the fundraising partner of BC Cancer. Together with our donors we are changing the outcome for people affected by cancer in B.C. and beyond by connecting personalized care, innovative research and opportunities to contribute. Every dollar raised directly supports BC Cancer to advance research, enhance care and break down cancer to benefit the people of B.C.

Learn more at bccancerfoundation.com or follow us @bccancerfdn