Construction on the area that will house Sudbury's long awaited new PET scanner is officially underway at Health Sciences North.

Wednesday, HSN and the Northern Cancer Foundation celebrated shovels being in the ground following eight years of fundraising by the Sam Bruno P.E.T. Scan Fund. 

The fund was started in 2010 after Sudbury health care advocate, Sam Bruno, died of colon cancer.

He was fighting to get a PET scanner brought to the city because the closest one is currently in Toronto and the technology can be used to detect cancer in the body that is sometimes not found in other diagnostic tools.

Almost a decade later, his vision is becoming a reality.

Cheryl Bruno is Sam’s widow.

"I'm sure he never thought we would continue that was his dream, but he just couldn't fight anymore and stopped. We continued, family got together, a couple friends made a committee and continued, and here we are today. He would be so proud. He would be over the moon proud, and I am proud and thankful for all of the help from the community." said Mrs. Bruno.

Dr. Tom Carr is a board member of the Health Sciences North Foundation.

"There are about 600 patients who travel from the north east down to Toronto, usually Princess Margaret or Sunnybrook, and that's 477,000 kilometres of travel for the patients and their families. And we will be able to eliminate most of that travel." said Carr.

The PET scanner suite is expected to be complete by winter 2019.