SUDBURY -- Health Sciences North officially kicked off its ‘Unlock the Potential MRI Campaign’ Friday, and Glencore Integrated Nickel Sudbury donated $500,000.

HSN’s goal is to raise $7 million by the end of 2021. The current system will be updated and a new MRI will be installed.

Officials with HSN said Glencore’s donation will go a long way.

“The Glencore relationship is a longstanding relationship with the Northern Cancer Foundation and Health Sciences North,” said Anthony Keating, president and Chief Development Officer at Foundations for HSN.

“The government doesn’t fund everything in a hospital. So that’s why we need the support of corporations like Glencore, and they really stand out as an amazing cooperation and supporting the work at our hospital.”

HSN said it currently takes 66 days to get an MRI, which is two times longer than the provincial standard. The current system is 10 years old, and runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Not ideal

“It’s not ideal to have someone come to the hospital at 4 o’clock in the morning to get an MRI,” said Keating.

“People often have to travel throughout northeastern Ontario to get here. So bringing two MRIs to Sudbury is going to help reduce those travel situations that we have to deal with.”

Hospital staff said once the new MRI is up and running, it will be the best in Canada.

Both hospital staff and Glencore said the two have had a long lasting, positive partnership. Peter Xavier, Glencore’s vice-president of operations in Sudbury, said it was an easy decision to support the campaign.

“Just touching on something that is a national need, the community, our employees that could benefit from this,” said Xavier.

“Being that precisely in one of our preferred giving areas, I really think it rules the top of our list from a priority perspective.”

So far, just more than $4 million has been raised. The goal is to have the current system updated and the new MRI installed by the end of 2021.