SUDBURY -- A small hospital in northeastern Ontario has recently introduced a new CT scanner to its arsenal, after years of fundraising and with a generous donation from a former resident.

The St. Joseph's Foundation of Elliot Lake began using the machine earlier this month. While a majority of the money came through private fundraisers, a last-minute donation from Suzanne Rogers pushed them over the top.

"So our $1.6 million project, which would have bought us a very good CT scanner, we were able to make a $1.8 million project and buy a top-of-the-line CT scanner," said William Elliott, chair of the foundation.

The donation was meaningful for Rogers, who is the wife of Edward Rogers, the chairman of Rogers Communication and son of Ted Rogers. While it's been quite some time, she has deep roots in the community.

"When people ask me where I'm from, they never expect to hear Elliot Lake," Rogers said with a chuckle. "So I'm definitely a northern girl. I have a big affection to Elliot Lake in my heart."

Commited $1 million

Rogers has committed to a $1 million donation over the next five years, coming from the Edward and Suzanne Rogers Foundation. The first portion of that funding was directed to the CT scanner.

"To me it wasn't a question of if I as going to do it, it was a question of how were we going to do this and how will this benefit the community of Elliot Lake," said Rogers.

Rogers' parents immigrated to the area, with her father working at a nearby mine. However, Rogers lost him in a mining accident when she was very young.

"I'm very proud of the CT machine," Rogers said. "It will have my father's name on the door. So to me, it's really a full circle for my father's life in Elliot Lake and to be able to honour him this way, is very, very important to me."

The scanner is expected to have a significant impact. Prior to its installation, paramedics would typically bring patients in need of a scan to either Sudbury or Sault Ste. Marie for treatment. But now, Elliott said patients can expect an improved, faster experience.

"You'll go directly to the hospital here, they'll do the diagnostic here and you'll get the treatment here," Elliott said. "So the speed of treatment is obviously related to potential outcomes. The faster you get treatment, the greater the chance that you're going to have a positive outcome."

Free up staff time

Not only will it improve the patient experience, but Elliott said it will free up staff from taking extra trips, which in turn will also be an added safety step in hazardous weather. In a time when hospital staff rarely see good news, it was a welcome change.

"The suite is beautiful. The equipment is state of the art," Elliott said. "There's a lot of pride from the staff now that we've done this, that we have this. You can see when you talk to them. I mean, this is a real point of pride for them now when they talk about the hospital and services that the hospital offers."

The hospital is already looking ahead for how to spend the next installment. Elliot said many of the patient beds need to be redone, which comes at a hefty price tag of approximately $6000 a unit.

Rogers, who spearheads many charity endeavours through her foundation, said it is a perfect fit. She already works closely with Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. She said she's hopeful to be asked about future ways she can help Elliot Lake.

"My mission's always been to be part of the community and to be able to use my voice, my presence to be able to raise awareness to groups that I support," Rogers said. "So I do use my voice and I do use any presence that I have to bring attention to these causes that might not get as much attention."