Phone: 1-807-627-0333


Prostate Cancer Support Thunder Bay
1100 Memorial Avenue - Suite 374
Thunder Bay, ON
P7B 4A3

Our History

The History of Prostate Cancer Support Thunder Bay

September 1994. Two local urologists, Dr. Ankrom and Dr. Rao, solicited the help from some of their patients in forming a Prostate Support Group in Thunder Bay. Six individuals agreed to help.

27 October 1994. An initial meeting was held at the Cancer Clinic at the Port Arthur General Hospital. Drs. Ankrom and Rao chaired the meeting and discussion centered on what the group's mission would be.

31 October 1994. The following met at the home of Doug Exley to make up an agenda for the next two months: Doug Exley, Glen Dugiud, Tony Belluz, Cameron Bell, Fred Humeniuk, Harvey Bulmer, and Gunter Spengler.

November 1994. It was agreed that support group meetings would be held on the third Thursday of every month from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Arrangements were made to use the 55 Plus Centre at 700 River Street for the monthly meetings.

Planning committee meetings were scheduled for the second Thursday of the month in the home of one of the members.

The speakers at the first meeting were Dr. Ankrom and Dr. Rao. An announcement for the meeting was carried on Shaw Cable, and personal contact was made with all known prostate cancer patients. Twelve to 13 men attended the initial meeting in addition to the original planning group members.

December 1995. By the end of December 1995 there were 58 names on the group's membership list.

Steve Dychko, Bill Vantour, and Stan Cano were important in maintaining the support group's continuation during the period prior to incorporation.

August 2002. A small group of the membership decided that they wanted to take the Support Group to the next level. As a result, a Constitution and By-Laws was prepared: a board of directors was installed and our application to become a Charitable Organization was approved. Letters of Patent was issued in August 2002 incorporating the group as Thunder Bay and Area Prostate Support & Awareness Group, with Steve Dychko as President.

February 2003. Thanks to A. Cava, we received some early funding from the Frank Cava Memorial Golf Tournament.

May 2004. Bill Vantour and Bill Neilipovitz traveled to Dryden and Kenora to assist with the organization of local Prostate cancer support groups. Additional regional support groups were established over the next year in Hearst, Fort Francis, and Nipigon through the efforts of Bill Vantour, Gunter Spengler, Brian Scott and Marcel Girouard.

Summer 2004. Our general meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month and the director's meetings on the second Thursday of the month. We have recognized the fact that the more professional the speaker at our meetings, the higher the attendance. Our membership is advised by telephone committee as to who and what the presentation will be about.

March 2005. Recognizing that the surrounding Regional Groups have no resources for speakers, we initiated Video Conferencing that originated from the new Thunder Bay Regional Hospital. Dr. Gulavita, a radiation oncologist made the first presentation which was carried to Kenora, Dryden, Fort Frances, Nipigon and Hearst. Since then, Longlac, Terrace Bay and Kapuskasing have been added.

June 2005. We held our first fund-raising social which was a huge success. The steering committee led by Ab Cava, Bill Horde and Steve Dychko was responsible for an entertaining evening for those who attended.

January 2006. Our membership is growing and as a result, had to move our meetings to a larger room. We now have 30 to 40 members at our meetings. Our June BBQ meeting, at which our wives supply the food, is successful with attendance around 100. We partner with the Canadian Cancer Society to hold successful Awareness Evenings during Prostate Cancer Week in September.

July 2007. PCCN - Thunder Bay begins partnership with Musselwhite Mine and the Thunder Bay Border Cats.

2007–2009. Attendance at our meetings ranges from 40-60 members with the exception for our two social meetings: the June BBQ and the Christmas banquet attendance jumps to 125 – 200. Thanks go to our entertainment chairman Bill Horde and his committee.

September 2007. Dr. Terry Hill, President, and Bill Everitt, Director, represented the Thunder Bay and Area Prostate Support and Awareness Group at the Annual Prostate Cancer Conference held at the Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto where they made a formal presentation on the work of the local organization in providing video conferences to support groups throughout Northwestern Ontario.

September 2008. The Hyder Video, Talk About It, was distributed free of charge to all prostate cancer support groups across Canada by the local group.

May 2009. The name of the organization was officially changed to Thunder Bay Prostate Cancer Support Group.

August 2009. The organization's first website,, was officially opened. The Webmaster was David Everitt.

December 2009. The organization received a $21,000 grant from The Ontario Trillium Foundation for the production of a video dealing with family relationships when a member has prostate cancer. Jim Hyder is the director of the video, which was finished in late 2010 and then subjected to a thorough review by support group audiences. The title: "It's a Family Affair."

19 August 2010. At a Special Business General Meeting, a motion to adopt a Support Group Affiliation Agreement with the PCC and PCCN was passed. At the same time a new name for our group was adopted, Prostate Cancer Support Thunder Bay.

October 2010. We also formed a partnership with The Fort William Male Choir. Some of their members had experienced prostate cancer, and they as a group wished to assist our efforts.

15 November 2010. Our website underwent a major makeover to reflect our joining the PCCN and the web address was changed to with new Webmaster Steve Bachanek, who provided the pictures in 2010 - 2011 not otherwise attributed.

By this point, membership has risen to more than a hundred.

January 2011. The three ladies from our group who participated in the video "It's a Family Affair" (Ev Burki, Christine Hyder, and Beth Long) started an informal group to provide information directly to spouses or partners of prostate cancer patients. They were joined by Marilyn Junnila and Inga Vantour on our new Spouses To Talk To webpage.

March 2011. Our new video "It's a Family Affair" is now being distributed to all the PCCNs, first in Ontario and then throughout Canada. Initial feedback was very positive from PCCNs that have viewed it. Subsequently the video segments were made available free worldwide on YouTube. (See the webpage Our Help Videos.)

April 2011. Prostate Examiner was launched with Phil Junnila as editor.

November 2011. M.P.P. Bill Mauro and Trillium Foundation representative Keith Nymark presented a much appreciated cheque that will cover the costs of translating our DVD "It's A Family Affair" into French.

January 2012. We partnered with PCC in Toronto to produce a DVD in English and in three Aboriginal languages to educate the native communities about prostate cancer. Jim Hyder is responsible for production.

October 2012. Cy Zurba becomes Editor of our newsletter, the Prostate Examiner.

July 2013. PCCN - Thunder Bay donates $8,500.00 to the Regional Hospital Foundation to purchase a knee pillow and foot immobilization device to keep patients stable during radiation plus gold seeds to identify the target area.

September 2013. In conjunction with Prostate Cancer Week, we sponsored free PSA testing at the 55 Plus Centre plus entertainment all arranged by Ed Long.

October 2013. Beth Long becomes Editor of our newsletter, the Prostate Examiner.

December 2013. Marcel Girouard, our correspondent from Hearst for the Prostate Examiner, starts regular contributions of "Marcel's Morsels" in the newsletter.

Other Events 2013. Awareness Projects such as Health Fairs (55 Plus Centre, OLG and Rural Health Fair), Marks BBQ, Relay for Life, Safeways, Fort William Male Choir have increased the public's acceptance of Prostate Cancer as a table topic.

May 2014. Ed and Beth Long make regional visits to provide information and support to Dryden, Kenora, Fort Frances and Atikokan.

May 2014. PCCN - Thunder Bay presents a donation of $3000 to Dr. Lai's "Cell Research on Prostate Cancer." The cell sorter is needed in the research to further define whether the research team is on the right path in urocell testing to determine a diagnosis of prostate cancer and to aid in MRI-guided HIFU therapy.

September 2014. PCCN - Thunder Bay celebrates 20 years of bringing prostate cancer awareness to Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario, at the free public lecture (Dr. Rajiv Singal) during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Mayor Keith Hobbs gave a congratulatory address to the group. This lecture was the first time that PCCN - Thunder Bay live streamed their educational session.

September 2014. PCCN - Thunder Bay sponsors their second free PSA testing event. 185 men rolled up their sleeves for this blood test. Live musical entertainment, refreshments, and the Lakehead Classic Car Show were features of this event.

November 2014. Ed Long, President, PCCN - Thunder Bay, responds to the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care's recommendation not to use PSA testing as a screening tool for prostate cancer. His response on behalf of the group was in favour of the use of PSA testing for screening, and it was addressed to Honourable Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long Term Care.

December 2014. Dick Mannisto, our new contact member from Longlac, is welcomed at our Christmas Social.

January 2015. PCCN - Thunder Bay officially launches its Aboriginal DVD – "A Man's Story" at the Indian Friendship Centre.

November 2015. Ed Long and Denis Perron take the DVD - "A Man's Story" on the road to: The Gathering of the 9 Mattawa First Nations at Longlac; a public educational session at the Greenstone Library in Geraldton; and the Prostate Support Group in Hearst at their new Seniors Centre.

January 2016. First distribution of booklet, "Men Make It Happen," to Ontario Power Generation, with acceptance of their donation to PCCN - Thunder Bay in the amount of $555.

June 2016. Dr. Sunil Gulavita is presented with an Appreciation Service Award at our Annual Beef On A Bun Social. Dr. Gulavita has been a long time supporter and educational lecturer to our group.

September 2016. PCCN - Thunder Bay hires a bookkeeper for first time.

October 2016. Ed and Beth Long from Thunder Bay, Dick Mannisto from Longlac, and Marcel Girouard from Hearst present two educational sessions on prostate cancer at the Longlac Northwest Community Health Centre at the Centre's request.

October 2016. Last year of Applebee's coupon purchase program in support of PCCN - Thunder Bay, for a total donation of $15,000 over the five years.

November 2016. Death of Brian Scott, one of the long term active members of PCCN - Thunder Bay and the Board. He was awarded a lifetime membership in 2014 for his many years of dedicated service.

November 2016. PCCN - Thunder Bay presents a donation of $10,000 to the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute, to advance local prostate cancer research.

January 2017. Students Christ Abraham and Kelly Yang recognized for their work in prostate cancer research.

July 2017. Applebee's celebrates their 20th anniversary by donating their Oriental Chicken Salad for the same price as in 1997, $8.99, with all proceeds coming to our group. This replaced coupons sales for Applebee's.

September 2017. City declares Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and Flag raised at City Hall.

February 2017. First Wellness Day at Resolute Forest Products. Prostate Health Steering Committee formed with Patient Family Advisor, Bill Everitt, appointed to represent our group.

July 2018. First time exhibiter at Fort William First Nation Health Fair.

August 2018. 11th year for Musselwhite Mine partnering with Border Cats and to raise funds to support us. Musselwhite Mine has sold so this was the last year of this support.

October 2018. Men Make It Happen revived with 122 men seeing nurse, getting PSA and DRE.

January 2019. First time participant in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Health Summit for 49 First nation Communities, other provinces and Alaska.

April 2019. First time participant in Community Oncology Professional Education 2019 Workshop.

September 2019. Ed Long, Beth Long, Marc Breton, Lise Pollard attend BC Prostate Cancer Foundation Conference.

4 September 2019. Men Make It Happen with 6 speakers on men's health issues. 123 men tested.

Affiliation - Prostate Cancer Canada Network

Our Prostate Cancer Support Thunder Bay under its earlier names has long been affiliated with the Canadian Prostate Cancer Network and its 120 affiliated support groups across Canada. In the Fall of 2009, CPCN announced that it had amalgamated with the Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Foundation and would be known in the future as the Prostate Cancer Canada Network. As mentioned above, in 2010 we formalized an even closer relationship with the PCCN and also changed our name.

The national CPCN, and now PCCN, speaks for thousands of men and their families who each year are diagnosed with prostate cancer. PCCN and PCCN - Thunder Bay help individuals and their families understand and cope with prostate cancer by providing up-to-date medical information and individual support; lobby for increased funding for research, treatment facilities, and programs; and promote the importance of early detection through public awareness campaigns.

Presidents, Past and Present

2002-2004 Steve Dychko
2004-2006 Bill Vantour
2006-2007 Dr. Terry Hill
2007-2009 Brian Scott
2009-2011 Bill Vantour
2011-2012 Phil Junnila
2012-2013 Bill Vantour
2014-2015 Ed Long
2015-2016 Cy Zurba
2016-2019 current Ed Long

Honorary Lifetime Members

Bill Vantour

Disclaimer. The Prostate Cancer Support Thunder Bay does not assume responsibility or liability for the contents or opinions expressed herein. Although every precaution is taken to ensure that information is accurate, differences of opinion exist and the Prostate Cancer Support Thunder Bay takes no responsibility for views expressed herein, nor do they necessarily reflect those of the publishers, sponsors, or organizations affiliated with us. The Prostate Cancer Support Thunder Bay does not recommend treatment modalities, medications, or physicians. Information should not be used for purposes of self diagnosis or as an alternative to medical care. If you suspect you have cancer see a physician immediately.