The Sam Bruno PET scanner steering committee may not have achieved its goal of bringing the medical to device to Sudbury after a half-decade of fundraising and lobbying, but it is undeterred.
The group held its sixth annual Sam Bruno gala dinner Oct. 22, which drew its largest turnout yet with a sellout of 423 tickets at the Caruso Club.
The dinner is held in memory of Bruno, a Sudbury man who advocated for bringing a PET scanner to the region before his death from cancer in 2010.
As it stands, there are nine permanent PET scanners in Ontario, one in Thunder Bay, and the rest are in the south of the province.
“This is our best turnout we've ever had, and it really shows the impetus of the community behind this cause,” said Brenda Tessaro, Sam Bruno PET scanner steering committee member.
Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas called on the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to make mobile PET scans available in Sudbury. At a cost of between $10,000 to $20,000, they are much less expensive than the $3.5 million price tag that comes with a permanent scanner.
The province will not cover the capital costs to purchase a PET scanner, but will pay most of the operational costs once one is up and running.
The steering committee has jumped on board with Gélinas' initiative, but are not losing sight of their goal of bringing a permanent PET scanner to Health Sciences North.
“Our goal is always to bring a permanent PET scanner but in the interim we are behind bringing in a mobile scanner as a bridge,” said Tessaro.
Last year's gala raised around $140,000, and the total brought in to date is around $840,000. With the ticket sales alone from the 2015 gala, another $35,955 has been raised, but a good majority of the money raised on the evening comes from silent auctions, raffles and donations.
A GoFundMe account has also been set up to raise money by Sam Bruno's stepdaughter Jody Third, who is also a member of the steering committee.
The GoFundMe page can be found here.